21 June 2022

ACT records three COVID-19 deaths; omicron spread more prevalent than first thought

| Lottie Twyford
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The queue at the Garran COVID-19 testing centre

Omicron first arrived in the ACT just before Christmas last year leading to long testing queues over the holiday period. Photo: Ian Bushnell.

Three men have died with COVID-19 in the latest reporting period in the ACT.

The death of a man in his 70s, one in his 80s and one in his 90s has taken the Territory’s pandemic death toll to 78.

ACT Health has also confirmed 869 new COVID-19 infections overnight. There are now 87 people in hospital with the virus.

Meanwhile, a new study has shown COVID-19 cases during the Omicron wave may have been drastically underreported by as much as 50 per cent.

A study by the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) and UNSW Sydney’s Kirby Institute looked for COVID-19 antibodies in 5185 samples taken from blood donors between late February and early March this year (six weeks after the peak of the wave in most states).

The researchers tested for two types of antibodies – one of these could only be found if a person had been previously infected.

It found actual cases could have been much higher than reported.

According to the latest federal government data, there have been more than 7.7 million coronavirus cases in Australia since the pandemic began. More than 9000 people have died with the virus.

Macgregor primary school

All students at Macgregor Primary School are now learning remotely for the rest of the week. Photo: Macgregor Primary School.

An additional three ACT public schools have switched to remote learning as teacher shortages continue to be exacerbated by the pandemic.

For the second time this term, a public school has sent all its students home to learn remotely, meaning it has moved to Level 4, the highest level of contingency planning under the ACT Education Directorate’s staff shortage plan.

Students at Macgregor Primary School will be at home for the rest of the week (including a school planning day scheduled for Friday, 24 June) before returning to campus on Monday.

Year 1 to 4 at Harrison School will be learning remotely until Thursday (23 June) but will not return to campus until next week as a school planning day is scheduled for Friday ( 24 June).

Year 7 to 8 at Caroline Chisholm School will also be at home for the rest of the week.

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They join their peers in Years 5 and 6 at Giralang Primary School who will finish remote learning today.

Preschool students at Ngunnawal Primary School and Year 5 and 6 students at Turner Primary School will finish remote learning tomorrow.

Years 3 to 5 students at Kingsford Smith School will also learn remotely for the rest of the week (including a school planning day scheduled for Friday, 24 June).

K to 2 students at Mount Rogers Primary School and Years 1 and 2 at Isabella Plains Early Childhood School will also be learning remotely for the rest of the week.

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With the 869 (430 PCR and 439 RAT) cases recorded overnight, there are now 5525 (2954 PCR and 2571 RAT) active infections in the Territory.

A total of 147,942 (89,188 PCR and 58,754 RAT) COVID-19 cases have been recorded since the pandemic began in March 2020.

Yesterday, the ACT reported 837 new COVID-19 infections.

Of the 87 people hospitalised with the virus, one is in the ICU, but no one requires ventilation.

The double-dose vaccination rate for the ACT’s five-plus population remains 97.3 per cent and 77 per cent of residents aged 16 and older have received a booster.

Of ACT residents aged five to 11, 68.8 per cent have received two doses of vaccine.

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Interstate, NSW has reported seven deaths overnight and 7805 new cases of COVID-19.

There are now 1499 people in hospital with the virus and 57 people in ICUs around the state.

Victoria has reported 28 deaths overnight and 7507 cases of COVID-19.

There are now 434 people hospitalised with the virus, while 21 patients are in the state’s intensive care unit.

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