But Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman reiterated today that despite there no longer being a seven-day quarantine requirement for household contacts, the new rules still require contacts to minimise their movement in the community.
“Nothing much changes,” Dr Coleman explained. “We are just giving [people] a bit more flexibility.”
Instead, she said it’s about people being able to leave their home if they are required to work or study, access childcare or school, shop for groceries and essential supplies, exercise outdoors and for essential animal welfare purposes.
Masks must be worn if household contacts aged 12 years and over attend an indoor setting and high-risk settings must be avoided.
Contacts are also required to notify their workplace or education facility and ACT Health, and should “take personal responsibility” when deciding to leave home.
A negative COVID-19 test is required in the 24 hours before returning to work or school and every 48 hours after that if ongoing attendance is required.
Supplies of rapid antigen tests will be available at Garran and Mitchell COVID-19 testing centres for people who cannot obtain them from their workplace or may face financial barriers to purchasing them.
They will be limited to three tests per person at the testing centre.
Businesses are encouraged to provide them to workers who wish to return to work and students and teachers can access them through schools.
People can also leave their homes if they need to attend an ‘unavoidable gathering’. Last week, Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said examples include attending a funeral or voting in the Federal election.
Dr Coleman said she accepted there is some confusion in the community given the fact there are currently different rules in ACT public schools compared to the broader community but said this is usual when a change in the rules occurs.
ACT public schools will not move to drop any public health restrictions, including the requirement to wear a mask and for household contacts to remain home, until after consultation has occurred with the unions and teachers over the next two weeks.
Locally, there are again 69 people in hospital with COVID-19. Four people are in the ICU, but none require ventilation.
The ACT recorded 831 infections yesterday and there were 69 people in hospital.
The 997 new cases (427 PCR, 570 RAT) take the local active caseload to 5288 (2697 PCR, 2591 RAT).
Since the pandemic began, 101,899 (63,503 PCR and 38,396 RAT) cases of COVID-19 have been reported locally.
The double-dose vaccination rate for the ACT’s five-plus population is now 96.9 per cent, and 75.1 per cent of residents aged 16 and older have now received a booster.
Of ACT residents aged five to 11, 64.3 per cent have received two doses of vaccine.
Interstate, NSW has reported 10 deaths overnight and 12,188 new cases of COVID-19.
There are now 1743 people in hospital with the virus and 73 people in ICUs around the state.
Victoria has reported 13 deaths overnight and an additional 10,734 cases of COVID-19.
There are now 456 people hospitalised with the virus, while 32 patients are in the state’s intensive care units.