18 November 2022

Authorities re-issue public health warnings as COVID-19 cases jump by 30 per cent, one death recorded

| Lottie Twyford
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Minister for health Rachel Stephen-Smith

Minister for Health Rachel Stephen-Smith said the ACT’s COVID-19 numbers aren’t at winter levels yet, but they are increasing. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

COVID-19 cases have jumped once again around the country, but local authorities have not moved to reinstate any public health restrictions.

Instead, Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith today reissued a plea for Canberrans to continue following health authorities’ recommendations.

“We are starting to see an upswing in cases in the ACT as we are in other jurisdictions, so this is an important time to remind Canberrans that it’s important to follow those COVID-smart behaviours,” she told reporters today.

That includes wearing masks in indoor spaces where social distancing is impossible or high-risk settings, staying at home while unwell and testing.

Notifying people you’d been in contact with was also important, as was remaining up-to-date with vaccinations, the Health Minister said.

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At this point, the Territory will not return to daily COVID-19 reporting, but this will continue to be considered throughout next week for the following reporting period.

Ms Stephen-Smith warned daily COVID-19 numbers didn’t provide any useful information about what steps an individual should take to protect themselves and those around them, but she acknowledged not knowing daily numbers could lead to some anxiety in some segments of the community.

“We want to make sure we go smoothly through the implementation of the Digital Health Record without putting any additional pressure on ACT Pathology,” she said.

Ms Stephen-Smith has consistently said she would never rule out reimplementing additional COVID-19 restrictions.

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Local cases jumped from 910 last week to 1194 (456 PCR and 738 RAT). The 30 per cent week-on-week increase followed a 25 per cent increase in the previous week.

The death of a woman in her 80s with the virus was also recorded in the last period, taking the local death toll to 129.

Since March 2020, a total of 210,609 infections have been recorded.

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As of yesterday, there were 52 people in hospital with the virus. Last week there were 37. (Those figures don’t distinguish between people in hospital because of their COVID-19 infection and people in hospital for another health reason.)

No one is in ICU or requiring ventilation.

ACT Health’s most recent weekly epidemiological report now shows there have been five consecutive weeks of COVID-19 case numbers increasing.

In the week to Sunday, 6 November, there were 953 COVID-19 infections. Of these, 12 per cent were repeat infections.

Test positivity from PCRs conducted was 11 per cent.

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Interstate, cases also jumped and Queensland has moved its COVID-19 alert level from green to amber.

That means face masks are now recommended indoors and in high-risk facilities.

In the last week, NSW recorded 19,800 new cases (8392 RAT and 11,408 PCR) and 22 people died with the virus.

That’s a 7350 case jump on last week.

There are now 974 COVID-19 patients in the state’s hospitals and 32 people in ICU.

Victoria recorded 16,636 cases and 41 pandemic-related deaths. That’s up on last week’s tally of 10,226 infections.

The state’s seven-day rolling average for hospitalisations was 274 patients with 11 people in the ICU.

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