Authorities have reported 2566 new cases of Covid-19 in NSW, breaking another record.
It is the highest tally of daily coronavirus cases yet in Australia, increasing from the 2482 cases announced yesterday.
Cases were expected to jump with the ongoing relaxation of public health orders, while the Omicron variant has been blamed for the fast rise in infections.
There were no deaths from the virus in NSW on Saturday, but NSW Health said 227 people were in hospital in the state, including 28 people in intensive care wards.
In a press conference this afternoon NSW premier Dominic Perrottet said the government was closely monitoring the situation, but stressed booster shots were the key to protecting the community from the virus.
More than 57,000 people in NSW have received a booster shot of a Covid-19 vaccine in the last seven days, up from 15,000 the week before.
"As we move through the next phase, case numbers will increase. That is the new normal," he said.
With some countries in Europe introducing new lockdowns, Perrottet was asked what would trigger tightened restrictions or new lockdowns in NSW: "ICU presentations are the key metric for us," he said.
"We want to make sure that our health system has the capacity as we move through this next challenge of the pandemic ... that we can deal with the challenges that come our way."
The low number of current ICU presentations was positive, he said.
"When we believe there's evidence in front of us we need to potentially tighten restrictions we will. And it's almost certainly as we move through - as we see overseas as they head into the winter months - certain challenges will come our way.
"There will be curve balls... there's almost certainly to be other variants that may come our way, and we'll need to respond."
More than 148,900 people were tested in NSW on Saturday, and 93.4 percent of people aged over 16 are fully-vaccinated.
It was "strongly recommended" to wear a mask in most settings, Perrottet said, but he placed the onus on people taking "personal responsibility" for their health.
"And the people of New South Wales are doing just that. The government can't do everything," he said.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard urged people to join the "booster club", and said the four-fold increase in booster shots in the past week showed people were "voting with their feet".
Hazzard said he hoped NSW would not reach 25,000 cases per day, and that the summer environment made it difficult to compare local Omicron data to events overseas.
"It is hard to distinguish or understand the full impact until we see more weeks of experience in what is going on here New South Wales as to whether or not it is going to really lift our hospital intake or not," he said.
"We are on high alert, as you would expect us to be."
NSW Labor leader Chris Minns said the opposition would throw its support behind a mask mandate, saying it was not an onerous change, was supported by medical experts and could prevent a lockdown.
"We think this is a common sense decision that should be made by the New South Wales government," he said.