16 December 2022

ACT records more than 3000 COVID-19 cases in a week, another death

| Lottie Twyford
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Sir Robert Menzies statue wearing a mask

COVID-19 cases have jumped to 3018 in the last week as hospitalisations continue to trend upwards as well. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

COVID-19 cases have continued their upward trajectory in the Territory for the eighth week in a row and one man in his 80s has died with the virus.

In the week ending Thursday, 15 December, a total of 3018 (1398 PCR and 1620 RAT) infections were reported to ACT Health.

That’s an increase of around 400 cases on last week’s tally of 2610.

The latest death is the 136th since the pandemic began and 221,718 cases have been reported locally in that time.

As of yesterday afternoon (15 December), there were 81 people in hospital with the virus. No one required intensive care or ventilation.

Last week, there were 58 people requiring hospitalisation with the virus.

The queue at the Garran COVID-19 testing centre

COVID-19 PCR testing arrangements will remain essentially unchanged in the Territory next year. Photo: Ian Bushnell.

Last week, the Federal Government came under fire for elements of its 2023 COVID-19 plan.

That included outlining that it would continue to jointly fund state and territory-run COVID-19 PCR testing clinics, which would remain open to those who needed them.

At first, the public had been told that a medical referral would be required from next year to obtain a test. The government was also criticised for rolling-back access to mental health appointments.

In 2020, the Morrison government doubled the number of Medicare-funded mental health sessions available to patients each year from 10 to 20.

On Monday, the Albanese government said this would revert to normal from next year.

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In the week covered by ACT Health’s epidemiological report, 17 per cent of all cases reported were by people who have previously been infected.

That percentage has fluctuated between 13 and 24 per cent in the past four weeks.

The health directorate expects that percentage to continue increasing as immunity from previous infections and vaccination wanes.

In the week from Monday, 5 December to Sunday, 11 December, the rolling case mean increased from 290 to 400 cases per day.

The largest increase in cases was recorded in the 25 to 39 age group.

BA.2 subvariants are now the most frequently sequenced Omicron variant, followed by BA.5 subvariants.

COVID-19 vaccination rates remain stagnant in the Territory as they have done for months.

As of yesterday, 76.8 per cent of people aged five to 15 have had two doses; 78.6 per cent of those aged 16-plus have had three jabs, and 65.1 per cent of those eligible over 50 have had the full four doses.

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Cases rose slightly over the border in NSW while deaths jumped.

NSW recorded a 500 case increase to 40,695 new infections in the past week and 74 people died with the virus.

There are now 1606 COVID-19 patients in the state’s hospitals and 37 people in ICU.

Victoria’s caseload and death toll decreased when compared with the week prior. The state recorded 24,652 cases and 84 pandemic-related deaths.

The state’s seven-day rolling average for hospitalisations was 675 patients with 26 people in the ICU.

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