The ACT has recorded 1125 new cases in the 24 hours to 8 pm yesterday, including 885 identified by PCR and 240 by rapid-antigen tests (RAT).
There are now 27 people in hospital, including three in intensive care, and three are being ventilated.
This brings the number of active cases in the ACT to 4382, down from 5004 yesterday. There were 1020 new cases yesterday, not including RAT results.
The number of ACT residents aged 12 and over who are fully vaccinated remains steady at 98.6 per cent, while 28.1 per cent of that cohort have received a booster shot.
National Cabinet met yesterday to discuss Australia’s response to COVID-19. The agenda included the epidemiology of the Omicron wave, the vaccine rollout, health system capacity, rapid antigen testing, close contact furlough arrangements for essential workers and the national back-to-school framework.
Omicron continues to show greater infectivity than the Delta variant, but with much less severity in terms of hospitalisations, ICU and ventilated patients.
Case numbers have continued to increase in the ACT but not at the rates seen in the larger jurisdiction. Local modelling indicated the ACT could reach a peak in cases and hospitalisations in the next week.
Genomic sequencing indicates that 98 per cent of the virus circulating in the ACT is Omicron.
Hospitalisations have increased in recent weeks, consistent with increasing case numbers in the community. Most of these cases have been admitted to general wards and the average length of stay for patients with the Omicron variant has reduced to around two days.
A small number of hospital admissions require ICU care, and most of these patients report being unvaccinated.
The ACT continues to lead the nation on vaccinations. Almost 4,500 children aged 5 to 11 have been vaccinated in the ACT since Monday, the highest proportion of any jurisdiction in the nation.
With the supply of RATs increasing, the ACT Government will make more available for free in the coming days. RATs are available at the Kambah testing facility in place of PCR Testing as of 10 am today. PCR testing will resume on Monday.
Coles and Woolworths have imposed limits of two packs per customer on toilet paper, pain relief medication and oral analgesics. When in stock, RAT packs are limited to one per customer. Coles has also placed some limits on meat, including chicken, mince and sausages.
The ACT Government is currently exploring how essential workers who are close contacts and not sick can return to work. Access to RATS and appropriate personal protection equipment are key considerations.
A final decision will be made next week, but schools and early childhood education centres in the ACT will return as planned. Continuing students at ACT public schools are currently scheduled to return on Tuesday, 1 February.
Queensland and South Australia have delayed the start of their schools years by two weeks due to the forecast peaks of the virus in those states. The schools will still be open for the children of essential workers during this period.
National Cabinet will meet again on Thursday (20 January). They will discuss detailed operational plans for the return to school, such as mask-wearing and surveillance rapid antigen testing, including for teachers.
NSW has recorded another 25,080 new cases via PCR tests in the last 24 hours and 37,938 via RATs.
NSW is still adapting to the two different tests, so of the 37,938 positive RAT results, 24,329 of these positive tests were from the previous seven days. There may be some cases included in these numbers where people have reported positive RATs on multiple days or where people have also had a positive PCR test during the same reporting period.
There are 336,265 active cases, of which 185 are currently in intensive care. NSW Health has also reported 29 deaths.
NSW residents using RATs will need to notify Services NSW of their results online. Failure to report a positive result could incur a $1000 fine.
Of people aged above 16 in NSW, 93.8 per cent have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccination and 22.9 per cent have had their third dose.
Victoria recorded 20,326 new cases via PCR testing and 16,843 new cases via RATs. There were 25 deaths.
Across Australia, there are currently an estimated 734,211 active COVID-19 cases and 306 people are currently in intensive care.