NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has warned Sydneysiders to "assume anybody you're in contact with has the virus" after the state logged its highest number of new cases since the current outbreak began on 16 June.
There were 124 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 reported for NSW in the 24 hours to 8pm last night, of which only 37 were in isolation throughout their infectious period.
This means that more than two-thirds of the latest cases were either out in the community at some point while infectious or their movements are unknown.
NSW Health reports 48 were infectious in the community, 22 cases were in isolation for part of their infectious period, and the isolation status of 17 cases remains under investigation.
That 48 number represents an increase on 43 yesterday and 27 on Tuesday, showing a fluctuating percentage between 34-39 per cent of new cases who are classed as 'infectious in the community'.
"Now, given that number of infectious in the community, I'm expecting case numbers to go up even higher," Berejiklian said.
Of the new cases, 67 are linked to a known case or cluster, with the remaining 57 under investigation.
While the vast majority of cases came out of the South Western Sydney Local Health District (LHD) and Western Sydney LHD, positive results were recorded across the metropolitan region, the Nepean Blue Mountains LHD, and Illawarra Shoalhaven.
There are now 118 COVID-19 cases admitted to hospital in NSW with 28 people in intensive care, 14 of whom require ventilation.
Health authorities recorded more than 85,000 tests carried out during the reporting period.
Updated at 12:38pm AEST on 22 July 2021.
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