The Territory has recorded 1098 cases of COVID-19 overnight and ACT Health has revealed almost 40 per cent of COVID-19 deaths reported so far in the ACT since the pandemic began occurred in residential aged care settings.
Of the 58 COVID-19 deaths to Monday, 16 May, approximately 60 per cent occurred in a hospital, 38 per cent occurred in a residential aged care facility and 2 per cent occurred in the community.
ACT Health did caveat this data by saying it does not routinely collect it and it may change in the future. It’s not clear, for instance, whether people were moved from residential aged care facilities to hospital before dying.
According to ABS data collated before 31 January this year, the average age for a person who died with COVID-19 was 83.7.
Of the last 15 deaths reported in the ACT, 60 per cent were aged in their 90s.
Two ACT public schools have been forced to extend remote learning periods as returning to face-to-face learning for all students remained impossible due to teacher shortages.
Years 9 and 10 at Caroline Chisholm School will learn at home from today (18 May) to Tuesday, 24 May. Years 5 and 6 at that school returned to campus today from their previous period of temporary remote learning.
At Latham Primary School, the current remote learning period for Years 3 to 6 will be extended. Instead of returning to campus today as was expected, those students will be at home until Friday, 20 May.
Eight other public schools have moved to periods of remote learning due to COVID-19.
The measures come as the number of infections reported to public schools almost doubled in a week.
In the week ending Sunday, 15 May, 433 cases of COVID-19 were reported in 70 schools compared to 281 infections reported in 60 schools in the week prior.
Opposition spokesperson for education Jeremy Hanson has again argued the fact so many public schools needed to move to remote learning was proof the Territory government had continually neglected the education system.
He argued the ACT’s “critical” teacher shortage had been evident before the pandemic and this was now the result of that.
“If we had a properly resourced education system, relief teachers would be able to backfill the gaps left by teachers isolating with COVID and it would be done through a centralised system,” he said.
“At the moment, this system appears to be very ad hoc, and as a result, our hardworking teachers, students and parents are paying the price because the minister has failed to manage the school system.”
Minister for Education Yvette Berry has previously labelled such claims from the Opposition as “ridiculous“.
“This pandemic has led to some incredibly difficult circumstances,” she said.
“When the Canberra Liberals come out and suggest there’s some way we could have predicted or known the impact of COVID-19, it’s ridiculous. We’ve responded where we need to.”
The additional 1098 COVID cases (556 PCR and 542 RAT) recorded overnight bring the total active caseload to 6190 (3036 PCR and 3154 RAT).
A total of 121,713 (74,545 PCR and 47,168 RAT) COVID-19 infections have been recorded locally since March 2020.
The number of COVID-19 patients in the Territory’s hospitals has dropped to 74 from yesterday’s record high of 80. Four of these people are in the ICU and one requires ventilation.
The double-dose vaccination rate for the ACT’s five-plus population remains 97.2 per cent and 76.1 per cent of residents aged 16 and older have now received a booster.
Of ACT residents aged five to 11, 67.2 per cent have received two doses of vaccine.
Interstate, NSW has reported 14 deaths overnight and 12,297 new cases of COVID-19.
There are now 1395 people in hospital with the virus and 57 people in ICUs around the state.
Victoria has reported 22 deaths overnight and 14,220 cases of COVID-19.
There are now 510 people hospitalised with the virus, while 31 patients are in the state’s intensive care units.