1 June 2022

ACT records another COVID-death; extent of hospital comorbidities revealed

| Lottie Twyford
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Canberra Hospital

There are now 84 patients with COVID-19 in Canberra’s hospitals. Photo: File.

A man in his 70s has become the ACT’s 64th pandemic death and an additional 832 (385 PCR and 447 RAT) cases have been confirmed by ACT Health.

As the number of COVID-19 patients remains high locally, new national data paints a clearer picture of comorbidities and hospitalisations.

According to the latest report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 4700 people were admitted to hospital with COVID-19 in 2020-21 across the country.

Of these, 42 per cent had one or more diagnosed comorbid chronic conditions, such as cardiovascular disease or Type 2 Diabetes, an increase on the previous year when it was 25 per cent.

The number of COVID-19 patients requiring intensive care dropped from 8.6 per cent in 2019-20 to 7 per cent last year while the number of COVID deaths in hospitals increased from 4 per cent to 10.3 per cent.

There is very little ACT-specific COVID-19 data available.

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Overall, Canberra’s public hospitals experienced the highest year-on-year increase in patients in the country – 9.1 per cent. Separations from public hospitals increased from 118,737 in 2019-20 and 200-21 to 129,547.

The AIHW’s annual report also noted the impact of COVID-19 on elective surgery.

AIHW spokesperson Adrian Webster attributed an increase in hospitalisations to the easing of restrictions and efforts to clear the backlog of elective surgeries that arose during the pandemic.

Many surgeries were postponed during the earlier months of the pandemic to avoid clogging up hospitals.

However, in more recent times, pressure on the Territory’s health system has meant some elective surgeries at Canberra Hospital and Calvary Public Hospital have been postponed so emergency surgeries could be prioritised.

An agreement in early May between the ACT’s private and public hospitals meant up to 28 public patients could be cared for by the ACT’s private system.

The strain on the system has been attributed to increased COVID-19 cases and presentations related to other illnesses alongside pandemic-related workforce shortages.

AIHW data showed private hospitals stepped up to take on some of the public load during the pandemic.

It took one-third more patients in 2020-21 compared to 2019-20.

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There are now 4383 (2248 PCR and 2135 RAT) active cases in the ACT.

Since the pandemic began, 132,735 (80,792 PCR and 51,943 RAT) infections have been reported locally.

There are now 84 people hospitalised with the virus and five people are in the ICU, including one being ventilated.

Yesterday, there were a record 93 people in hospital, including four in intensive care and two being ventilated.

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Interstate, NSW has reported nine deaths overnight and 8383 new cases of COVID-19.

There are now 1143 people in hospital with the virus and 31 people in ICUs around the state.

Victoria has reported 17 deaths overnight and 9934 cases of COVID-19.

There are now 528 people hospitalised with the virus, while 30 patients are in the state’s intensive care units.

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