21 April 2022

ACT records 1265 new infections and 48th pandemic death; COVID-19 walk-in clinic to reduce its hours

| Lottie Twyford
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Garran Surge Centre

The Garran Surge Centre opening hours will be reduced to 8:30 am to 5 pm. Photo: Region Media.

A man in his 80s has become the 48th person to die with COVID-19 since the pandemic began in the Territory. ACT Health has extended its condolences to the man’s family and friends.

A total of 1265 new COVID-19 cases were recorded overnight and health authorities are expected to make a significant adjustment to close contact quarantine requirements.

Currently, anyone who is deemed a household or high-risk contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case is required to undergo a seven-day quarantine period.

Both NSW and Victoria relaxed this requirement yesterday, with the changes to come into effect tomorrow (22 April) at 6 pm and 11:59 pm, respectively.

Instead of quarantine, people are now required to undertake rapid antigen tests, wear a mask when in indoor spaces and avoid high-risk settings.

It’s anticipated similar arrangements will be announced by ACT Minister for Health Rachel Stephen-Smith this afternoon.

The queue at the Garran COVID-19 testing centre.

The surge centre has previously been used as a testing clinic. Photo: Ian Bushnell.

Canberra Health Services (CHS) has reduced the opening hours of the COVID-19 walk-in clinic in Garran to 8:30 am to 5 pm daily so staff members can be redeployed to areas where demand is high.

Since it opened in January, the clinic had operated from 7:30 am to 10 pm daily, but a spokesperson for CHS said the majority of patients had attended during business hours.

CHS said it was currently under pressure because of staff shortages due to COVID-19, other illnesses and approved leave.

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Last week, one testing clinic closed early as staff needed to be redeployed.

CHS said it’s likely that further changes to opening hours across some services will take place.

The Garran clinic provides a free, no appointment required service for COVID-positive patients who need face-to-face treatment for non-life-threatening injury or illness or further assistance managing their COVID-19 symptoms.

COVID-19 patients who need care outside the Garran clinic’s hours can contact the COVID Care@Home team, CALMS or Health Direct.

Throughout the pandemic, it has also been used as a vaccination clinic as well as a testing site.

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Locally, there are now 61 people in hospital with COVID-19. Three people are in the ICU, with one person being ventilated.

The 1265 new cases (706 PCR, 559 RAT) take the local active caseload to 5489 (2732 PCR, 2757 RAT).

The Territory recorded 1180 infections yesterday, and there were 63 people with COVID-19 in hospital.

Since the pandemic began, there have been 96,854 (60,734 PCR, 36,120) cases of COVID-19 reported in the ACT.

The double-dose vaccination rate for the ACT’s five-plus population is now 96.8 per cent, and 74.8 per cent of residents aged 16 and older have now received a booster.

Of ACT residents aged five to 11, 62.7 per cent have received two doses of vaccine.

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Interstate, NSW has reported 16 deaths overnight and 17,447 new cases of COVID-19.

There are now 1641 people in hospital with the virus and 69 people in ICUs around the state.

Victoria has reported 11 deaths overnight and an additional 10,674 cases of COVID-19.

There are now 444 people hospitalised with the virus, while 35 patients are in the state’s intensive care units.

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