An Aboriginal man from Dubbo in western NSW has become the first Indigenous person to die from COVID-19 in Australia.
The man in his 50s, who was not vaccinated and had significant underlying health conditions, died at Dubbo Hospital.
He was one of four people who died from COVID-19 in the 24 hours to 8pm Sunday, as the state recorded 1290 locally acquired cases - another record daily number of infections.
He is also the first person to die from the virus in regional NSW during the current outbreak.
Announcing the man's death on Monday, Western NSW Local Health District chief executive Scott McLachlan said it was a stark reminder to the community of the need to urgently get vaccinated.
"This opportunity to get vaccinated is a lifesaver," he told reporters.
"It will save you, it will save your family, it will save your friends.
"The last thing we want to see is more deaths in western NSW."
While there has been a jump in the number of jabs administered to the region's Indigenous residents - with the number almost doubling in the past three weeks - the rate still lags significantly behind the region's broader population.
Just 6.3 per cent of Indigenous people in the area are fully vaccinated, compared with 26 per cent of the general population.
In Dubbo - where 434 of the Western NSW Health District's 561 cases reside - just nine per cent of Indigenous people are vaccinated.
That is contrasted with the fact the majority of cases being diagnosed are among people of Aboriginal descent - 65 per cent.
That is worrying NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant.
"Any death is tragic and we are particularly concerned about the case numbers in far west and western NSW because of the over representation of Aboriginal people and the likelihood that COVID will be - and is - touching Aboriginal people disproportionately," she said.
Of the new cases reported across the state, 83 are in the Nepean Blue Mountains region, 51 in western NSW, nine in the far west, six on the Central Coast, five in the Illawarra Shoalhaven and three in Hunter New England.
They include another seven cases in the predominantly Indigenous town of Wilcannia, where one in 10 people have caught the virus.
NSW Health's ongoing sewage surveillance program has also detected fragments of the virus at the sewage treatment plants in Trangie in western NSW and Byron Bay on the north coast.
There are no known cases in those areas, with residents being urged to monitor for symptoms and if they appear, immediately get tested and isolate until a negative result is received.
Australian Associated Press
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