Australia COVID-19 crisis: Overwhelmed Sydney hospitals turning people amid warning worst is yet to come

Sydney's health care system is so overwhelmed, hospitals are turning people away. 

The city has spent almost all of winter in lockdown, and it's predicted spring will be when the wave is at its worst. 

Sydney is fighting a war, and it's losing. The spread of the virus seems unstoppable; each day, as cases climb, so too do those needing urgent care. 

But hospitals are overwhelmed; 871 people with COVID-19 are in hospital and 143 are now in intensive care. 

"These patients are some of the sickest we have ever seen," explains Michelle Dowd, an ICU nurse.

"Many are young, fit and healthy; they come from a variety of backgrounds - but the one thing they have in common is they are all unvaccinated."

Being so contagious, Delta is spreading through family homes. 

"The Delta variant, we are having entire family groups in our hospital in tragic circumstances that both parents of a child need to be ventilated," said Dowd.

Overnight, three more people died - the death toll now standing at 96. 

"At the end of life, we will connect a call with family and hold the patient's hand and provide as much care and comfort as possible," Dowd said.

There were another 1164 cases overnight - and it's predicted the worst of the wave is still to come. 

"We know we will be asking you to do more in September and October," said New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian.

Dowd says theatre nurses are currently training to be ICU nurses to meet the demand, and nurses who've left the unit are now returning.

And she issued a call to arms, and a call to help: "Please get vaccinated."

From Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison too: "We need to vaccinate the whole country."

Once again, the government was scouring the globe for desperately needed Pfizer supply. This time Singapore answered, with 500,000 doses as Sydney prepares for the worst of its war.