An 80-year-old man with pre-existing health issues is the second person in the ACT to die from the COVID-19 virus.
ACT Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman said the man died in The Canberra Hospital while offering her condolences to the man’s family and friends.
“It is my sad duty to report that the ACT has recorded its second death from COVID-19,” Dr Coleman said.
“I offer my sincere condolences to this person’s family and friends.
“My thoughts are with you in this very difficult time.”
The news comes as a further two people have been confirmed positive for COVID-19 in the ACT in the past 24 hours.
The new cases consist of one male and one female, aged between 40 and 53.
This brings the ACT’s total to 93 people who have tested positive for the virus.
Dr Coleman said one of the new cases is linked to overseas travel and the other is a close contact of a previously confirmed case.
There are currently 13 COVID-19 patients in Canberra hospitals, while 18 people have now recovered from COVID-19 and have been released from self-isolation. The remainder of the people who have been isolating at home with ACT Health support are in a stable condition.
There have been 5,235 negative COVID-19 tests in the ACT to date.
Dr Coleman said the very sad reality of this disease is that the elderly and the vulnerable are at an increased risk of complications.
“It is especially important to protect these vulnerable groups and that we all need to take the physical distancing measures we are implementing seriously.
“Stay at home as much as possible and only go out when you need to. If you do leave the house for essential reasons, like shopping, exercising, for medical reasons or to work, please limit the amount of interaction you have with other people.
“Try to keep a 1.5-metre distance from people outside of your household group, wash your hands regularly for 20-30 seconds each time, and cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.
“These measures will give us the best chance to slow the spread of this disease and protect our most vulnerable,” Dr Coleman said.
The news of the second death in the ACT comes as Dr Coleman said they are actively looking for community transmission of the virus in the ACT and that testing will be further expanded to help identify the possibility of community transmission.
“Starting on Monday, we are expanding our testing to a random selection of people who would otherwise not meet the testing criteria,” Dr Coleman said.
“This will be done at our Weston Creek Walk-in Centre and at the drive-though testing station at EPIC. This increased surveillance will help us gain an even better insight into the effectiveness of our efforts to flatten the curve.”
ACT Health is still waiting on the results of tests this week that will indicate if community transmission of coronavirus has occurred in the ACT.
Dr Coleman said the results won’t be known until the middle of next week.
“I think once we get those results, we will be able to call it at that point in time and classify it as our first case of community transmission or pull it into saying that we know where this came from.”