NSW has racked up another daily case record after reporting 35,054 new COVID-19 infections and eight deaths.
The cases logged in the 24 hours to 8 pm on Tuesday were diagnosed from 108,844 tests and represent a rise of almost 12,000 on the previous day.
The number of people in hospital has risen to 1491, from 1344 reported on Tuesday.
Of those, 119 are in intensive care units, an increase of 14, NSW Health said on Wednesday.
While ICU numbers are rising, the tally is short of the peak of 244 seen in September.
Meanwhile, the processing of PCR COVID-19 tests across the state continues to stall with more people facing longer wait times to get their results, long testing queues and reduced operating hours at testing sites.
At the same time, NSW residents are finding it hard to source rapid antigen at-home tests, which are recommended before heading to a PCR testing centre.
Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant warned on Tuesday processing and supply issues were likely concealing the true number of infections across the state.
NSW Labor leader Chris Minns said this was unacceptable.
“It’s important that people know whether they’ve got the disease or not. That’s the minimum requirement of the state and federal government,” he said outside a crowded testing clinic on Tuesday.
“You can’t have a situation where people, like in the line behind me, are baking in the sun for hours, potentially infected with the COVID disease, and then at the end of it being turned away from these important PCR testing facilities.”
Many testing sites are operating at reduced hours until January 10.
Meanwhile, more than 300 childcare centres were closed across NSW on Wednesday, mostly due to “health emergencies” linked to the COVID-19 outbreak, according to the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority.
Premier Dominic Perrottet will hold a press conference later on Wednesday about the crisis.