“We have the highest vaccination rate in the country and importantly we're coming close on that first-dose mark to 90 per cent,” NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said on Saturday.
The premier said the state could expect to see the daily case numbers and hospitalisations increase as Greater Sydney emerges out of lockdown on Monday, and urged people to proceed safely.
“That is a natural part of opening up and that's why we've done this in a safe way and ensure that we haven't done so until we've had that vaccination rates where we wanted it to be,” he said.
"This journey is not over. There is a long way to go and we need to continue that focus."
Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant, who attended the press conference with the premier on Saturday, said it was up to individuals to be alert to the risk in the community.
"Everyone, as we move to live with COVID, also has to adhere to the personal responsibility around vaccination, also physical distancing, not going out and about if you have symptoms of COVID," she said.
"This is very much a shared responsibility."
She also addressed reports that she did not agree to the accelerated easing of restrictions announced this week, saying she had the opportunity to brief the premier and "respected government decisions around multiple inputs".
"I would also like to note that some of the changes are clearly very low risk," she said.
Investigations are also continuing into a new "strain" of the Delta variant, linked to a person who returned from overseas.
Dr Chant said how the new strain emerged and infiltrated the community in western Sydney is still under investigation.
“I want to reassure you that there's nothing about this Delta strain from looking at the genomics that suggested it's any more transmissible,” she said.
There are currently 812 COVID-19 cases in hospital, with 163 in intensive care and 75 who require ventilation.
The state on Wednesday achieved 70 per cent double-dose vaccination coverage of those aged over 16, clearing the way for restrictions to ease as planned.
From Monday, a swathe of restrictions will lift for fully vaccinated people across the state.
Ten adult visitors will be allowed in homes, 30 people will be permitted to gather outdoors, and 100 guests can congregate at weddings and funerals.
Shops and hospitality venues can reopen and the five-kilometre from home travel limit will be scrapped.
But as the first Australian state to reach 70 per cent vaccination, NSW is also going to be the first to meet some challenges, the premier said.
The United Workers' Union, which represents many frontline and public-facing workers, is concerned members checking vaccination status could be put in unsafe situations.
Adding to their worry is that the integrated Service NSW vaccine certificate or passport app is not yet ready.
Meanwhile, the Australian Medical Association said changes to the state's plan to emerge from lockdown could overwhelm the hospital system and burn out healthcare workers.