2 June 2022

ACT records 874 new COVID-19 infections; flu hits young people

| Lottie Twyford
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Rachel Stephen-Smith

Minister for Health Rachel Stephen-Smith gave her fifth update on the COVID-19 situation to the ACT Legislative Assembly yesterday. Photo: Region Media.

The ACT has recorded 874 new COVID-19 infections in the 24 hours to 8 pm last night.

It marks two weeks of daily caseloads below 1000.

Minister for Health Rachel Stephen-Smith yesterday (1 June) told the ACT Legislative Assembly that while the COVID-19 situation was stable, workforce pressures continued.

She encouraged Canberrans to practise COVID-safe behaviours this winter given the ongoing uncertainty around what a flu season coupled with a spike in COVID-19 infections could look like.

It comes as ACT Health’s latest influenza surveillance report shows the flu is spreading among younger populations.

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The median age of all flu infections reported to ACT Health to 22 May this year was 20 years old.

A previous report noted many cases were associated with sharehouses and some types of workplaces.

Between 1 January and 22 May 2022, a total of 687 laboratory-confirmed influenza notifications have been made to the department. There were 323 in the last fortnight.

Ms Stephen-Smith said the impact of the flu season was already making itself evident.

But she noted the uptake of flu shots was better in the ACT than in other jurisdictions around the country.

According to Ms Stephen-Smith, 50 per cent of people aged over 65 have received a flu shot and the uptake in the rest of the community was also good.

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The ACT, unlike other jurisdictions, has yet to offer free flu jabs to the general population, but Ms Stephen-Smith said this would continue to be monitored, and free shots were available to people in vulnerable or identified groups.

In response to a question on notice yesterday afternoon, Ms Stephen-Smith told Opposition spokesperson for health Leanne Castley that she did not believe cost was a barrier to accessing a jab for most Canberrans.

Specific pandemic management legislation is expected to be debated in the ACT Legislative Assembly early next week.

That bill will allow the current public health emergency declaration, which expires in August, to come to an end.

A public health emergency was first declared on 16 March 2020 and was initially in force for only five days. It hasn’t been lifted since.

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There are now 4448 (2320 PCR and 2128 RAT) active cases in the ACT.

Since the pandemic began, 133,582 (81,314 PCR and 52,268 RAT) infections have been reported locally.

There are now 82 people hospitalised with the virus and four people are in the ICU. No one requires ventilation.

Yesterday, there were 84 people in hospital, including five in intensive care and one being ventilated.

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Interstate, NSW has reported 23 deaths overnight and 7583 new cases of COVID-19.

There are now 1066 people in hospital with the virus and 30 people in ICUs around the state.

Victoria has reported nine deaths overnight and 10,204 cases of COVID-19.

There are now 525 people hospitalised with the virus, while 28 patients are in the state’s intensive care units.

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