A Sydney doctor says some Covid patients in hospital are "too sick to talk".
Dr Richard Totaro from the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital painted the frightening picture at today's Covid press conference, where the NSW Premier announced 283 new community infections.
"Unfortunately once patients come to my ICU they are too sick to be talking to us," Dr Totaro said.
"They're on ventilators, they're feeling really sick."
Totaro said it was not uncommon to see all age groups in ICU with Covid, but almost all have one thing in common - they're not vaccinated.
"The remarkable thing about this disease is in people who aren't vaccinated … just how progressive and relentless the deterioration can be," Totaro said.
"We've had people who are physically fit and well and who don't have underlying conditions [in ICU]."
Totaro also reiterated what state authorities keep saying - that getting vaccinated is the best protection against the virus given no one on a ventilator has had two doses of any Covid vaccine.
"If people get themselves vaccinated they're helping themselves, because you'll stop yourself getting sick," he said.
"You're [then] going to stop the people around you, your family, your loved ones, the people that you live with and work with from getting sick because they won't get it from you.
"The higher vaccination rates we have, the less people who are getting sick."
NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant confirmed 283 new locally acquired cases of Covid-19 this afternoon, including a man who travelled to Byron Bay.
Dr Chant said investigations were under way after the man, who is in his 50s, travelled from Sydney in late July.
"He is currently being re-interviewed and we are also arranging urgent testing of his two household contacts," she said.
Chant said the man had no recorded QR code check-ins during his infectious period.
"This matter is under investigation [and the man] hasn't received any punishment," she said.
"The gentleman himself is actually in hospital and we are interviewing those [close] to him."
Another infectious person had also travelled from Newcastle to Tamworth.
NSW Health said today that 349 Covid-19 cases are in hospital, with 67 people in intensive care, 29 of whom require ventilators.