23 December 2022

COVID-19 cases up for ninth week in a row, two pandemic deaths recorded

| Lottie Twyford
Start the conversation
outside view of Canberra hospital emergency department

There are 69 people in hospital with COVID-19. Photo: Region.

The Territory’s COVID-19 cases have continued to rise just ahead of Christmas, with ACT Health reporting 3184 (1284 PCR and 1901 RAT) new infections in the last week.

That’s a slight increase on last week’s tally of 3018.

Two deaths were recorded in the last reporting period, bringing the ACT’s pandemic death toll since March 2020 to 138.

A man in his 80s and a woman in her 70s died with the virus.

A total of 224,902 cases have been reported in the ACT since the pandemic began.

As of yesterday afternoon (22 December), there were 69 people in hospital with the virus. Three people are in intensive care and one person is being ventilated.

Last week, there were 81 people in hospital with COVID-19.

Vaccination rates remain stable in the Territory.

Kerryn Coleman

ACT Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman urged people to continue their “COVID-smart” behaviours over the silly season. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Canberrans have been urged to keep up their COVID-smart behaviours over the festive season.

That could include staying at home and not attending parties or gatherings if unwell, hosting parties outdoors and keeping up with good hand and respiratory hygiene.

Acting Health Minister Chris Steel told reporters earlier this week that PCR testing will be available over the festive season, albeit under changed arrangements.

The COVID-19 testing centre at Holt will close permanently today (23 December), and the Garran centre will be shut on Sundays.

Reporting a positive rapid antigen test is still mandatory under the COVID-19 management declaration, which the government has now extended until 28 March next year.

Masks remain mandatory in high-risk settings.

READ ALSO Plan ahead for healthcare if travelling and be nice, not naughty, emergency doctors warn

ACT Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman said the ACT is likely in a “grumbling peak”, but without a “crystal ball” it was difficult to say whether or not this wave had peaked yet.

“I don’t think it’s going to go much higher in terms of increasing daily numbers, but we also know that when holiday periods come along and there’s a lot more mingling and a lot more social activities, we do see an increase in transmission and therefore that flows on to some increased cases,” she said.

“It will not get to the peak that we have seen in other waves.”

She’s foreshadowed further changes to the Territory’s COVID-19 arrangements early next year.

More information on COVID-19 and available services over the holiday period, including where to get tested, is available online.

READ ALSO Chief Health Officer wishes a COVID-safe Christmas and says changes are on their way

Cases decreased over the border in NSW.

NSW recorded 38,610 new infections in the past week (down by around 2000 from last week) and 78 people died with the virus.

There are now 1618 COVID-19 patients in the state’s hospitals and 34 people in ICU.

Victoria’s caseload and death toll was similar to that of the week prior. The state recorded 24,238 cases and 100 pandemic-related deaths.

The state’s seven-day rolling average for hospitalisations was 671 patients with 28 people in the ICU.

Start the conversation

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.