28 March 2022

ACT COVID-19 cases continue to drop; hospitalisations creep up after remaining 'steady' for two months

| Lottie Twyford
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The Canberra Hospital

ACT Health’s latest weekly epidemiological report show local hospitalisations and ICU admissions are steady. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

The ACT has recorded 701 new cases of COVID-19 in the 24 hours to 8 pm last night. It marks the fifth consecutive day of falling case numbers after a two-month high when 1314 new infections were reported last Wednesday (23 March).

According to ACT Health’s latest epidemiological report, admissions to Canberra’s hospitals and ICUs have remained stable since the beginning of February.

In the week to 20 March, 24 people were admitted to hospital and three were admitted to the ICU.

However, hospitalisations have crept up in the days following that reporting period, suggesting this period may be coming to an end.

There are now 46 patients in ACT hospitals with COVID-19. Of these, four are in ICU, but none require ventilation.

Yesterday, there were 45 people in hospital. Three were in intensive care with none requiring ventilation.

Also in the week to 20 March, the ACT recorded a 48 per cent increase in COVID-19 cases.

In total, 7280 new COVID-19 cases were reported last week, compared to 4692 in the previous week. The seven-day rolling mean also increased to 944 cases a day, up from 565 a day in the previous week.

Based on PCR tests only, the test positivity rolling mean increased to 20 per cent in the past week compared to 15 per cent in the previous week.

In the same week, 82 per cent of all sequenced tests were identified as the more transmissible BA.2 sub-lineage of Omicrona, a “significant” increase on the previous week’s figure of 48 per cent.

Andrew Barr

Chief Minister Andrew Barr has said it’s more important to focus on metrics like hospitalisations and ICU admissions than on daily caseloads. Photo: Lottie Twyford.

Authorities have repeatedly urged people to shift their focus away from daily caseloads and focus instead on key metrics like the number of people in hospital, the severity of disease and the number of people requiring intensive care and ventilation.

Earlier this month, Chief Minister Andrew Barr said he was “principally focused on those numbers rather than on daily caseloads”.

However, he conceded there could be a lag between high caseloads and increases in hospital numbers.

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The 701 (323 PCR, 378 RAT) new cases of COVID-19 reported this morning take the Territory’s local active caseload to 5491 (2538 PCR and 2953 RAT).

As of Friday (25 March), the double-dose vaccination rate for the ACT’s five-plus population was 97.2 per cent, and 72.4 per cent of residents aged 16 and older have received a booster.

Of ACT residents aged five to 11, 43.1 per cent had received two doses.

Since the pandemic began, 74,017 (48,288 PCR and 25,729 RAT) cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the ACT.

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Interstate, NSW has reported three deaths overnight and 16,199 new cases.

There are now 1270 people in hospital with the virus and 55 people in ICUs around the state.

Victoria has reported no new deaths overnight and an additional 8739 cases of COVID-19.

There are now 252 people hospitalised with the virus, while 21 patients are in the state’s intensive care units.

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