24 January 2022

ACT records another two deaths and 756 new cases of COVID-19

| Lottie Twyford
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Canberra Hospital

Two people have died with COVID-19 overnight – a man in his 40s and a man in his 90s. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

The ACT has recorded two more COVID-19-related deaths and another 756 new cases of COVID-19 overnight.

A man in his 40s and a man in his 90s have died, and ACT Health has extended its condolences to their families and friends.

The additional deaths take the pandemic’s local death toll to 24.

There are now 68 people in hospital, including three in intensive care and one requiring ventilation, compared with 67 reported yesterday, including three in ICU and two being ventilated.

Today’s caseload is a slight increase from the 694 cases recorded yesterday. The latest case numbers come from 472 positive PCR results and 284 rapid antigen tests, taking the number of active cases in the ACT to 5069 (1712 PCR and 3357 RAT).

New arrangements for ACT Government testing clinics are in place this week (24 to 28 January):

  • Holt (8 am to 4 pm – PCR for all ages)
  • Nicholls (8 am to 4 pm – PCR for all ages)
  • Kambah (8 am to 4 pm – PCR for ages 5-plus)
  • Garran (7 am to 9 pm – PCR tests for all ages, and RATs for people aged 2-plus), and
  • Mitchell (1:30 pm to 9 pm – PCR tests for people aged 5-plus and RATs for people aged 2-plus).

ACT Health said turnaround times for results are now between 24 and 48 hours.

The ACT’s 12-plus vaccination rate remains constant at 98.6 per cent.

Almost 40 per cent of those aged 18 and over have now received a booster shot (39.6 per cent), while over half (50.6 per cent) of the population aged five to 11 have received one dose.

From today, concession cardholders will be able to access free rapid antigen tests. However, the ACT Pharmacy Guild is warning people that just because the program starts today, there may not yet be stock on shelves.

Canberrans who hold a Commonwealth pensioner concession card, seniors health card, health care card, low-income health card, or a Department of Veterans’ Affairs gold, white or orange card are now eligible for free tests.

People can access 10 free tests in a three-month period with a maximum of five tests per month.

National Cabinet has agreed to reimburse pharmacists $10 plus GST for every RAT provided to concession card holders, with an additional $4.30 handling fee for every transaction.

READ ALSO Getting Omicron has been way worse than I expected

Following yesterday’s announcement of the NSW Government’s back-to-school plan, the ACT Government is expected to make its plans public later today.

A key feature of NSW’s COVID-smart plan is twice-weekly rapid antigen testing for primary and high school students, and school and early childhood staff for the first four weeks of term.

The government will procure and distribute rapid antigen tests to every student and teacher in government and non-government schools.

Mask wearing remains mandatory for staff and high school teachers, and they are encouraged for children in primary schools.

Schools will also not be closed when there is a positive case and under new guidelines. Other students and teachers will not be considered close contacts and therefore will not be required to quarantine.

However, contingency plans are in place should staffing levels be impacted. A pool of around 1000 potential staff such as retired teachers and final year teaching students could be used to fill positions.

READ ALSO Pharmacists under pressure as date for free concessional RATs draws near

Interstate, NSW has reported 24 deaths overnight and 15,091 new cases (6901 RATs, 8190 PCR).

Hospitalisations have increased slightly to 2816 from 2712 the previous day. There are 196 people in ICUs around the state.

NSW Health says 33.5 per cent of the state’s eligible population has received a booster dose, and 93.9 per cent of the 16-plus population has received two shots.

In Victoria, 11,695 (7207 RATs and 4488 PCR) new cases have been reported, as well as 17 deaths.

Hospitalisations are falling in the state. There are now 998 people hospitalised with the virus – down from 1002 reported yesterday. Of the state’s 12-plus population, 93 per cent is now fully vaccinated.

In Victoria, 32 per cent of the state’s population has received three doses of the vaccine.

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Linda Seaniger4:52 pm 24 Jan 22

Why can’t ACT seniors get rats?

Seniors aren’t the only ones in this city Linda Seaniger! Buy a Rats kit. There’s also homeless, rough sleepers who don’t have connections and the list goes on. FYI the media has reported today that 80,000 Canberrans on various Commonwealth concession cards are now eligible for their first allocation of the rapid COVID-19 testing kits. Card holders can claim up to 10 free kits over the next three months from participating pharmacies. The ACT government is responding to the lack of Commonwealth action and people just can’t help whingeing. Get used to it. It’s a rapidly changing environment and the ACT government has been doing a good job. We’re all in this together making sacrifices in different ways!

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