18 February 2022

Death of man in his 20s with COVID happened some time ago; ACT records 561 cases

| Lottie Twyford
Start the conversation
Andrew Barr

Chief Minister Andrew Barr stressed the importance of “drawing a distinction between death caused by COVID and death of an individual with COVID”. Photo: Lottie Twyford.

The ACT Government says the death of a man in his 20s with COVID-19, which was reported yesterday, actually happened some time ago.

The revelation comes as the ACT recorded 561 cases of COVID-19 (265 PCR and 296 RAT) today and announced a “cautious” plan for the further easing of restrictions. Dancing and drinking while standing up will be back from this evening and all remaining density limits have been removed entirely.

Minister for Health Rachel Stephen-Smith was questioned at a media conference today about the circumstances surrounding the death of the 20-year-old.

Ms Stephen-Smith was unable to confirm whether he had any underlying health conditions or his vaccination status. Generally, local health authorities do not provide this information.

Ms Stephen-Smith said his death had been under investigation by the coroner, hence the delay in reporting. It remains unclear whether or not he died from COVID-19 or with COVID-19, this is despite Chief Minister Andrew Barr only minutes earlier stressing the importance of “drawing a distinction between death caused by COVID and death of an individual with COVID”.

He said he wouldn’t “comment on individual circumstances”.

“I can’t really give you any further information,” was Ms Stephen-Smith’s final comment.

READ ALSO UPDATED: Dancing back, density limits scrapped tonight but no changes today to QR codes or masks

Unlike other jurisdictions, the ACT has never publicly released data on the vaccination status and any comorbidities or underlying health conditions of people who die with COVID-19 at the time the death is reported – ostensibly for privacy reasons.

ACT Health also provides a weekly epidemiological update but it rarely contains information about deaths.

Opposition Leader Elizabeth Lee said she believes this information should be made public.

“I think that’s a shame because this government is actually known for being pretty opaque when it comes to providing information and detail, and it’s really unfortunate that this is playing out while we are in the middle of a pandemic,” she said.

“Canberrans … should be trusted with the details about the impact and the effect their actions are having on the community.”

READ ALSO As a migrant, the Australian flag has been ruined for me

There are 45 people in hospitals in the ACT with COVID. Two are in ICU and one is being ventilated.

As of yesterday, the vaccination rate for the ACT’s 12-plus population remains 98.6 per cent, and 62.9 per cent of residents aged 16 and older have received a booster.

Of ACT residents aged 5 to 11, 76.8 per cent have received one dose.

The next vaccination update will be provided on Monday.

Interstate, NSW has reported 15 deaths overnight and 9243 new cases.

There are now 1381 people in hospital with the virus and 92 people in ICUs around the state.

Victoria has reported 14 deaths overnight and an additional 9243 cases of COVID-19.

There are now 451 people hospitalised with the virus in the state.

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.