The John Hunter and other regional hospitals are beginning to take on patients from Sydney hospitals, with serious concerns the city won’t be able to keep up with the demand for beds as COVID cases rise.

There’s reports Sydney hospital staff are now critically stretched, with patients facing significant delays to find a bed and 25 percent of admissions now in people under the age of 40.

It’s likely the trend will only worsen with Sydney’s growing caseload, considering COVID patients typically spend a longer time in intensive care.

But Deputy Premier John Barilaro maintained hospitals had “plenty of resources”. 

“It’s because of the concentrated stretch on resources, especially in the south-west and western parts of Sydney, where we’re getting high caseloads in Sydney,” Mr Barilaro said.

“But the ability to go to Wollongong, as we know has occurred, or to the John Hunter up in Newcastle. 

“That’s all part of the health network and we’ll keep doing that as much as the John Hunter will support those regional areas.”

The Hunter New England Health District is now caring for 31 people in hospital, none of whom currently required intensive care. 

It’s unclear if or when the lockdown in the Hunter and other regional areas will be lifted. 

Mr Barilaro says NSW’s COVID situation is a team effort, and the regions needed to work together.

“We’re an integrated network of hospitals, it’s no different in the regions,” Mr Barilaro said.