An Edgeworth nursing home is keeping its fingers crossed that COVID vaccines will do their job after 11 residents tested positive to the virus on Wednesday.
All but one of the infected people at RFBI Hawkins Masonic Village are fully vaccinated but all were taken to hospital as a precaution.
The nursing home's chief executive, Frank Price, said the affected residents were "feeling well".
"We're just hopeful that continues," he said.
"If this was last year, I hate to think what would be happening throughout NSW from an aged care perspective. But, because of the vaccine, we hope the effect has been contained."
The Masonic Village said on Tuesday that one if its staff had tested positive. A second staff member tested positive on Wednesday.
NSW Health said on Wednesday that the Hunter had recorded 14 new coronavirus cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Tuesday, bringing the total in the region's latest outbreak to 53.
Nine of the new cases were under the age of 30. Seven were from the Newcastle local government area, six from Lake Macquarie and one from Maitland. Six were active in the community while infectious.
The Edgeworth nursing home cases will be included in Thursday's numbers.
The Hunter's one-week lockdown is scheduled to end at midnight on Thursday, but Premier Gladys Berejiklian said it was likely to be extended.
"Hunter does not look like it will come out of lockdown this week, however, we'll await the health advice," she said at Wednesday's daily COVID-19 media update.
Police are investigating the source of the Hunter outbreak after it emerged on Tuesday that a gathering at Shortland and a Blacksmiths beach party two days later could have led to previously undisclosed exposures at a handful of popular inner-city pubs and bars.
The state recorded 344 new cases on Wednesday and two deaths, a man in his 30s with other health problems and a woman in her 90s.
NSW has averaged 300 new cases a day over the past week, and Ms Berejiklian said the virus was showing no signs of slowing down.
Mr Price was concerned that the second staff member had worked at the nursing home while infectious before receiving a positive test.
"He has been in isolation since Monday, but he worked up until Monday morning, and we have had to get all of our staff and residents swabbed again today," he said.
"The real challenge will be workforce. We are trying to get workforce from other places, but they have no one either.
"This is a major blow. The number of aged care workers the industry is short of at the moment is in the tens of thousands."
Mr Price said the aged care centre was "being swept up" in a "tide of COVID" happening in regional areas.
Dubbo has gone into a week-long lockdown after two positive cases, but locked down Tamworth, Armidale and Byron Bay did not register new cases on Wedesnday.
HammondCare nursing home at Waratah, which announced on Tuesday that one of its staff members was infected, said on Wednesday that no more staff or residents had tested positive.
It said three of its 17 residents were unvaccinated.
"They are fine, the families have all been kept informed, everyone is kept informed. This is total transparency here.
"We are just being swept up in what seems to be a tide of COVID, which is happening in quite a few regional areas."