PROTESTERS have been urged to reconsider any planned demonstrations on the weekend as NSW added 170 cases, with at least 42 infectious in the community.
While the figures have dropped from a peak on Thursday, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said authorities expected the numbers to "bounce around" and urged people to get vaccinated to bring the outbreak to a close.
"Obviously today's number is considerably lower than yesterday's, but don't expect it to stay down," she said.
"The more jabs in arms, the more we can have freedom."
Dr Kerry Chant said there were 187 COVID cases in hospital, with 58 in intensive care and 24 requiring ventilation. 77 of the new cases were linked to a known case or cluster.
"I think this underscores the severity of COVID," she said.
"Please get tested if you have COVID symptoms.
"Tragically we have seen people present very late for care ... outcomes can be much poorer.
"You can deteriorate very quickly, and it is important you have that diagnosis and can be linked in for care."
Normally a concert venue, Qudos Bank Arena at Homebush will be made available from August 9 to vaccinate Year 12 students from the eight local government areas in the crosshairs of contact tracers as the lockdown continues.
Ms Berejiklian said anyone considering protesting in Sydney or elsewhere at the weekend should reconsider what it could mean for their family members if they transmitted the virus to them.
"Do not give those you love the most a death sentence," Ms Berejiklian said.
More than 95,000 people were tested in the 24-hour period to 8pm on Thursday.