5 August 2022

ACT records 705 COVID-19 infections; Barr says the peak's passed but beware next summer

| Lottie Twyford
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Discarded mask

This wave may be on the way down, but health authorities are warning against complacency with a summer spike anticipated. Photo: File.

The Territory has recorded 705 (433 PCR and 272 RAT) new COVID-19 infections in the last reporting period as health authorities express confidence that the current wave of the virus has peaked.

But Chief Minister Andrew Barr has warned that a second peak of infections is expected to coincide with winter in the northern hemisphere this summer.

He said the same mistakes of unpreparedness must not be made this year as they were last year.

The Chief Minister made these comments following yesterday morning’s National Cabinet meeting where state and territory leaders were briefed by the country’s Chief Medical Officer, Paul Kelly. No adjustments to public health policy or settings were made following the meeting.

“[We left with] an awareness that while we may be coming off the peak of this wave, the expectation is there will be a new wave over summer,” Mr Barr said.

“We’re very determined that the mistakes that were made by the previous federal government over December and January of last year and earlier this year not be repeated this coming summer.

“National Cabinet is aware we will need to have plans in place to respond to whatever new variant of the virus will hit the world in the northern hemisphere winter.”

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Last December, the arrival of the highly infectious Omicron variant to the Territory threw a spanner in the works for many Canberrans who were eager to celebrate a ‘normal’ Christmas after months of lockdowns.

The-then record caseloads led to long queues at testing centres, scuppered contact tracing arrangements and sent many into a much-unwanted Christmas quarantine.

It also put enormous pressure on the ACT’s healthcare system as large numbers of staff had to isolate or quarantine during a period when others were on leave.

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Local active infections continue to decline. There are now 4176 known cases and a total of 194,215 COVID-19 cases have been recorded since the pandemic began.

Yesterday, the ACT reported 641 cases and three deaths. Those figures took the Territory’s pandemic death toll to the grim milestone of 100.

There are 141 COVID-19 patients in the hospital, including two in ICU and one requiring ventilation.

Of the Territory’s five to 15 population, 77.9 per cent have received two doses of vaccine; 77.7 per cent of those aged 16 and over have received three doses; 51 per cent of those aged 50 and over have received four doses.

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Interstate, NSW has reported 29 deaths overnight and 12,908 new cases of COVID-19.

NSW Health says this death toll includes 10 deaths notified through the NSW Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages.

There are now 2224 people in hospital with the virus and 63 people in ICUs around the state.

Victoria has reported 34 deaths overnight and 7502 cases of COVID-19.

There are now 699 people hospitalised with the virus and 39 patients are in the state’s intensive care units.

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