THERE are now 26 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Hunter New England Health District.
An additional eight people have been diagnosed in the region as local health officials announce there could already be some "low level spread" in the community.
It comes as NSW experienced its biggest jump in infections in a 24-hour period.
NSW Health authorities have identified 83 new coronavirus infections in the state, taking the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases to 436.
Hunter New England Health public health physician Dr David Durrheim said six of the eight new local cases were in home isolation.
Two were in hospital.
Dr Durrheim said the majority of the region's confirmed cases had come from exposure to the virus overseas, or close contact with known COVID-19 cases.
"But there are a few where the source of infection has not been able to be determined. This means there could be some low level spread in the community," Dr Durrheim said.
"Now is the time to really social distance. Step back. No touch. Wash your hands. Don't go out with a cold, a fever or a cough."
Among the new cases in Hunter New England are a female in her 20s and a woman in her 50s - both are close contacts of a previously announced case.
A man in his 60s and a woman in her 70s have been diagnosed after travelling on the Ruby Princess cruise ship.
The woman is receiving care in Westmead hospital. The man is in home isolation.
A female in her 60s is receiving care at John Hunter Hospital after being in contact with a confirmed case in Sydney.
And a male in his 20s - a close contact of a confirmed case - is currently in home isolation.
A female in her 70s is in home isolation after returning from Vietnam and Cambodia, and a female in her late teens has been confirmed with COVID-19 after returning from Europe.
The most diagnoses in NSW have occurred in people aged between 30 and 39.
A total of 46,456 people in the state have now been tested and cleared.