A man in his 80s has become the 44th person to die with COVID-19 in the ACT and hospital numbers have again increased.
Consistent with current Health Directorate modelling which suggests case numbers will remain high for some weeks before slowly declining, the Territory’s daily COVID-19 caseload was again more than 1000, with 1200 new infections recorded to 8 pm last night.
But Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith confirmed yesterday there is a great degree of uncertainty associated with any future predictions as this outbreak is behaving differently from previous ones.
Ms Stephen-Smith acknowledged that health authorities “don’t really know” what will happen this winter.
“What we are confident of is that we are not seeing the classic curve of steep up and down that we have seen in some of the other outbreaks,” she said yesterday.
“We’re projecting a slow decline, but that could turn around and start going up again as winter comes upon us and as more people are gathering indoors with doors and windows closed without that level of ventilation.”
She also noted uncertainty associated with the school holidays, which begin tomorrow, and increased community movement, as well as the possibility of another sub-variant emerging.
In recent weeks, much has been made of the need to prepare for an expected winter spike of both flu and COVID-19 cases.
Ms Stephen-Smith said yesterday that authorities remained concerned about avoiding this situation and encouraged Canberrans to get their flu jab and their booster or, if eligible, their winter dose if they have not already done so.
The 1200 (627 PCR and 573 RAT) new cases of COVID-19 reported this morning brings the Territory’s local active caseload to 5824 (3091 PCR and 2733 RAT).
There are now 55 people in hospital, including three in the ICU and one being ventilated.
Yesterday there were 49 people in hospital, three were in ICU and two were being ventilated.
The double-dose vaccination rate for the ACT’s five-plus population remains 96.3 per cent, and 73.9 per cent of residents aged 16 and older have now received a booster.
Of ACT residents aged five to 11, 58.7 per cent have received two doses.
Since the pandemic began, 85,177 (54,218 PCR and 30,959 RAT) cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the ACT.
Interstate, NSW has reported 16 deaths overnight and 20,396 new cases.
There are now 1435 people in hospital with the virus and 44 people in ICUs around the state.
Victoria has reported four new deaths overnight and an additional 11,192 cases of COVID-19.
There are now 335 people hospitalised with the virus, while 12 patients are in the state’s intensive care units.