UPDATED 3:20 pm: The ACT recorded 462 cases of COVID-19 to 8 pm yesterday, up from 253 yesterday.
The ACT’s active caseload is now 1658. Of these, six are in hospital. No COVID patients are in ICU in the Territory.
Of the Territory’s 12-plus population, 98.5 per cent are fully vaccinated.
A total of 4211 negative test results were recorded in the past 24 hours.
The total number of cases since August 2021 now stands at 3886
11:30 am: ACT Health has said the quarantine requirements for ‘close contacts’ of COVID-19 have changed after the National Cabinet meeting on Thursday (30 December), while NSW has announced its cases of the virus have almost doubled in one day.
NSW Health has reported 21,151 new coronavirus infections and six deaths in the 24 hours to Thursday night. The state had recorded 12,226 cases and one death in the 24 hours to Wednesday night.
When the nation’s leaders met on Thursday they agreed on a new definition for ‘close contact’ exposure that has now been instigated for states and territories including the ACT and NSW.
Under the new agreement, you are only a ‘close contact’ if you spend more than four hours with someone you live with who has COVID-19.
After the meeting, ACT Health said its quarantine requirements for ‘close contacts’ would change from Friday (31 December).
“All close contacts, including unvaccinated people, currently in quarantine in the ACT and who have received a negative result from their day six test, can now leave quarantine from day seven,” the department said on Thursday night.
“Close contacts should still stay out of high risk settings, like hospitals and aged care facilities, for another seven days unless you are seeking urgent medical care or have prior approval.”
ACT Health said those currently in isolation as a confirmed case of COVID-19 from a test collected on or before 23 December could leave isolation on Friday and that their clearance paperwork would follow.
“We are currently updating our systems to reflect these changes. Unvaccinated close contacts may receive automated messages from ACT Health while these changes take effect – please disregard the advice,” the department said.
After the National Cabinet meeting Chief Minister Andrew Barr said he wanted to thank Canberrans for helping the government keep their city safe over 2021.
“Our world-leading vaccination rate is testament to our community’s care for each other,” he said.
“With the new variant of the virus, our public health objective is to reduce community transmission, reduce pressure on our hospitals and protect those most vulnerable.”
He said the best defence against the omicron variant of the coronavirus was vaccination.
With the help of general practitioners and pharmacists, about 350,000 vaccinations will be delivered over the next three months.
“Making sure people get their booster shots and delivering vaccines to our five to 11-year-olds will be our key priority in the weeks and months ahead,” Mr Barr said.
He has also asked Canberrans to work from home where this works for them and their employer.
“The ACT Public Service has taken the lead in flexible working arrangements throughout the pandemic,” he said.
“As Canberrans return to work in January, we are asking other employers to support their employees to work from home where possible.
“Taking sensible steps like wearing masks and working from home will minimise transmission and give us time to get kids vaccinated and booster jabs in arms.”
ACT Health has released its expected wait times at its COVID-19 testing clinics for Friday.
- Garran testing clinic (open 7:30 am to 9 pm): 30 mins +
- Mitchell drive through testing clinic (open 8 am to 10 pm): 1 hour 30 mins +
- Nicholls testing clinic (open 8 am to 4 pm): 20 mins +
- Kambah drive through testing clinic (open 8 am to 4 pm): 1 hour 30 mins +