NSW virus toll hits six, cases top 350

NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant is reassured that most COVID-19 cases have so far been mild
NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant is reassured that most COVID-19 cases have so far been mild

An 81-year-old NSW woman has died after contracting coronavirus, bringing the State's death toll to six and seven across Australia.

The woman died on Thursday night after close contact with a confirmed case linked to Ryde Hospital, according to NSW Health.

An 86-year-old man previously confirmed to have COVID-19 died in a Sydney hospital on Tuesday night.

NSW Health on Friday said the number of COVID-19 cases across the State had jumped to 353, up 46 on the previous day. Six people are in intensive care.

Another resident of BaptistCare's Dorothy Henderson Lodge in Macquarie Park - a 73-year-old woman - has also come down with COVID-19.

Three of the facility's residents have died to date after contracting coronavirus.

A school on the Nid North Coast, meanwhile, has closed after a member of the school community tested positive for the virus.

St Columba Anglican School in Port Macquarie received the news on Thursday afternoon and was closed on Friday.

The NSW chief health officer, meanwhile, is reassured that many of the State's coronavirus cases remain mild in nature.

NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant said the initial precautionary approach of hospitalising all confirmed COVID-19 cases had been abandoned as cases rise.

"It's reassuring that many of our cases continue to be mild with currently six patients in intensive care units," she said on Thursday.

"Many of our patients are being managed in the community and being managed at home and we are only admitting patients now that require hospital care."

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian again implored people to adhere to social distancing measures in order to limit the speed of the virus' spread.

More than 40,000 people have been tested for COVID-19.

"What we want to make sure is if we control the spread and keep the numbers very low as to who is actually needing to go into intensive care - and at the moment it's only a handful of people who are in hospital because of this illness - that's where we want to keep it," Ms Berejiklian told the Nine Network on Friday.

"We are not on top of it and nobody is, but we are still at a stage where we're managing it and we don't want to lose control and that's why it's important to socially distance."

NSW Planning Minister Rob Stokes has also overridden regulations preventing 24-hour deliveries of stock to supermarkets amid panic-buying.

Coles chief operations officer Matthew Swindells on Friday said the supermarket had sold three Christmases worth of stock in the past three weeks alone.

Meanwhile, authorities across some 20 State Government agencies have shifted to the NSW Rural Fire Service headquarters to liaise more effectively.

Ms Berejiklian said it was anticipated the NSW fire season and COVID-19 pandemic would have an overlap period of three months, with the RFS making contingency plans.

Australian Associated Press