NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant has apologised to the NSW-Victorian border community of Albury-Wodonga for the lack of effective communication during the current outbreak.
Dr Chant, who was speaking in Albury on the day Albury and Wodonga's new cases hit a new high of 91, said the state and health service were undergoing a transition.
"So this transition period has been quite a complex one, in the sense that information has been rapidly evolving," she said.
"And I just want to apologise to the community.
"We want to engage with you about how we can improve the clarity of effective communication, but we are having to change our approaches.
"We need to now change to what contact tracing looks like in the future; what a close contact is in the future, and how we take into account vaccination and other mitigation strategies in our approach to actually enable a proportionate response ... as a package.
"But I'm sure the community has been incredibly resilient.
"But I do undertake to do better communication in this in this transition period and apologise to any one who's had confusing messages - we will do better."
While Dr Chant is in town she will speak with health authorities and host a webinar with schools.
"What we're trying to do is keep the disease burden in the community very low and give everyone as much opportunity as we can to get vaccinated," Dr Chant said.
"Vaccinated people can get COVID but it's usually a very mild disease and they can transmit it.
"So we'll continue to need to be vigilant and continue to have those public health and social measures.
"We'll probably increasingly give tailored advice for those that are most vulnerable in the community."
Dr Chant said COVID was very good at 'seeking out unvaccinated pockets' in a community.
"I'm very confident that with the actions that we're putting in place and the goodwill of the community, we will be able to get numbers down," she said.
"This is a significant outbreak. But we know what works in bringing case numbers down. I would also like to commend the community for the adherence to COVID safe measures ... my limited experience here is shown how seriously the Albury community is taking those things."
Albury Wodonga Health chief executive Michael Kalimnios said seven COVID patients were in hospital and one is now in ICU.
A Mercy Place resident, in his 70s, died yesterday after contracting the infection at the aged care facility.
He has received one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
Albury-Wodonga recorded 91 new cases of COVID in the 24 hours to 8pm.
In Wodonga, 45 new cases were recorded while 46 were reported in Albury.
Six new cases have been recorded in Wangaratta and one in Indigo.
One case each was recorded in Cootamundra-Gundagai, Wagga Wagga, Murray River, Berrigan, Federation and Greater Hume.
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