NSW has had its second consecutive day of record high COVID-19 case numbers on Friday, with Premier Gladys Berejiklian announcing 291 news cases being recorded overnight.

At least 50 of those cases were in the community, with 12 staff members from a KFC in Punchbowl alone testing positive. The Premier has hinted that the worst is yet come.

“I do want to foreshadow that given this high number of cases, we are likely to see this trend continue for the next few days so I’d like everybody to prepare themselves for higher case numbers,” Berejiklian said at the daily coronavirus press conference on Friday morning.

“Just based on the trend in the last few days and where things are going, I am expecting higher case numbers in the few days and they just wanted want to be prepared for that.”

There are 50 COVID patients in intensive care in NSW. Of those, 44 of them are still unvaccinated while the remaining six have only had their first dose of a vaccine. Nobody in the ICU is fully vaccinated.

“We know the vaccines work, so if anybody is concerned about hospitalisation, please go and get the jab,” Berejkilian added.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard used the opportunity to encourage Year 12 students in Sydney’s eight hotspot LGAs (Fairfield, Liverpool, Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland, Blacktown, Parramatta, Georges River and Campbelltown) to head on down to Qudos Bank Arena to get vaccinated in time for the HSC.

“You are getting an opportunity that so many others haven’t yet managed to achieve and it’s there to light up your future by having your safety and security looked after,” he said.

Parents will be contacted about how to arrange this jab for Year 12 students in the coming weeks.

As for the rest of us, Berejiklian said the future of the current lockdown is up to us getting vaccinated, too.

“The more people we get vaccinated, the sooner we will be able to live more freely and I really want to stress that point,” the Premier said.

“Life for us on August 29 will be a reflection of how many people have had at least one dose of the vaccine and where the case numbers are, and those two things are things we will look at to see how we can live beyond August 29.

“Obviously, once we have the 70% vaccination rates, life will be much easier and of course once we hit 80%, life would be as normal as we can expect during COVID.”

All adult Aussies (yep, even if those of us under 40) are currently able to get the safe and effective AstraZeneca vaccine through a GP. Talk to a doctor to see if it’s right for you.

Alternatively, you can triple-check to see if you’re eligible for the Pfizer vaccine here.

The best vaccine is the first one you can get, and that’ll be our ticket out of this mess.