26 December 2021

ACT has 71 new COVID-19 cases as testing numbers drop over Christmas

| Genevieve Jacobs
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The queue at the Garran COVID-19 testing centre.

Long queues are continuing at Canberra testing centres. Photo: Ian Bushnell.

The ACT has recorded 71 COVID-19 cases in the 24 hours to 8 pm on Christmas Day. One person is in hospital but there are no intensive care patients.

Following consecutive record breaking days across the lead-up to Christmas, the numbers may be a reflection of lower testing numbers for Christmas Day, although yesterday waiting times at testing centres exceeded two hours at a number of sites including EPIC, the Garran centre and Kambah.

Kambah, Mitchell and Garran are at capacity as of this morning, while the Nicholls testing clinic has been closed for the day.

It’s believed that the Omicron variant is responsible for the marked increase in diagnoses across the ACT as case numbers also surge to unprecedented levels in NSW, where 6,394 new cases were reported in the latest 24-hour period. There are 1,604 new cases in Victoria where 77 people are receiving intensive care and two deaths have been recorded.

Tasmania has also set a new record with 44 cases and Queensland has 714 cases. Neither state has patients in intensive care.

NSW testing numbers dropped on Christmas Day by about 40,000, although hospitalisations in the largest state now stand at 458, with 52 people in ICU.

A significant majority of patients in hospital are not vaccinated.

New casual exposure sites across Canberra can be found here and have included multiple nightclubs and entertainment venues over the past week including Mooseheads, Hopscotch, The Basement in Belconnen and 88mph in Hobart Place. Murrays buses and the NSW train link have also been named in the lead-up to Christmas.

People who had their second vaccination four months ago – in September – will now be eligible for a booster shot from January 4. The waiting period will then reduce to three months from January 31.

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When half of the stations weren’t open yesterday, it’s no wonder testing numbers (and cases) were down.
No one likes to travel distances nor do they want to wait hours on end.
It’s no wonder that centres are full today. People didn’t get tested yesterday!
Our son received a message yesterday telling him he needed to be tested. Had he needed to travel to Mitchell, he probably would have waited until he got back to Sydney.
He ended up spending a some hours at Garran on Christmas Day. He was negative.

Andrew Sutton5:23 pm 26 Dec 21

It is time that our state governments came to their senses and opened our borders without restrictions. My daughter has just spent 9 hours (yes 9 hours from 8am this morning) trying to get a COVID-19 test just so she can return to home to Brisbane where she lives (she has no symptoms at all). Having finally been tested she was told that it may take up to 5 days to get the result. Her flight is in 2 days and she cannot return home without the result, costing her hundreds in changing flights etc. This is obviously an untenable situation that is in reality totally unnecessary and given the lengths of queues at testing

How can this situation be forced upon people at this time especially when Omicron is running throughout NSW, Victoria, Queensland and the ACT and is not putting many into ICU? C’mon governments sort this out NOW.

PS I get that COVID-19 puts our vulnerable at risk, but this aspect can and should be managed individually as we are doing with our elderly parents.

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