29 October 2021

UPDATED: ACT records 10 new COVID cases; first schools shut down after exposures identified

| Lottie Twyford
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Ken Behrens COVID sign

Lockdown restrictions have eased again today but the COVID risk remains. Photo: David Murtagh.

UPDATED 11 am: The ACT has recorded 10 new COVID cases to 8 pm last night.

There are nine people in hospital with COVID, including six in intensive care and five on ventilation.

There have been almost 1700 tests in the 24 hours to 9 am today. There are currently 234 active cases in the ACT.

Of the ACT’s 12-plus population, 92.3 per cent are fully vaccinated.

NSW recorded 268 cases and two deaths.

Yesterday there were 293 cases and two deaths.

Victoria has recorded 1656 new cases and 10 deaths in the past 24 hours.

Yesterday there were 1923 cases and 25 deaths.

Ainslie School

Ainslie School has been closed for deep-cleaning after a positive case attended campus earlier this week. Photo: Google Maps.

9:50 am: Two schools over the border in Queanbeyan and one in the ACT have been closed after positive COVID-19 cases attended each campus.

Cleaners are onsite at Ainslie School in the ACT after a case in the Year Six’ bubble’ was unknowingly infectious while at school last Monday and Tuesday.

Those at the school on Monday, 25 October between 9 am and 3 pm, and Tuesday, 26 October between 9 am and 12 pm have been asked to stay at home and await further health advice while contact tracing is underway.

A spokesperson for ACT Health said work is underway with the Education Directorate on a risk assessment to identify and contact any individuals at the location who are considered a contact.

“Direct communication from ACT Health and the ACT Education Directorate regarding the details of the exposure was provided to the school community today,” the spokesperson said.

Queanbeyan West Public School and Queanbeyan South Public School have been closed after positive cases attended campus.

All staff and students have been asked to isolate while they await further health advice.

However, COVID-19 tests are not required unless people have symptoms.

A spokesperson for the NSW Department of Education said temporary school closures and more COVID cases are to be expected as the state opens up.

“On average a school is closed for less than 24 hours to allow for contact tracing and cleaning,” the spokesperson said.

All schools have robust COVID-safe plans in place and are taking extra precautions to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission on-site to minimise any disruptions to learning.”

Speaking at Wednesday’s press briefing, Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman said moving forward, the Health response would prioritise keeping schools open, but close contacts would still be asked to remain at home.

“We are still working through what this response will look like,” she said.

READ ALSO Drug decriminalisation could make the ACT a ‘target for organised crime’, AFP Commissioner says

All NSW students have already returned to on-campus learning, with all remaining ACT school students to return to on-campus learning on Monday, 1 November.

It’s the same day the teacher vaccine mandate will come into effect. All teachers and staff in the ACT who come into contact with children younger than 12 will be required to show proof of at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

A double dose will be required by 29 November.

Staff who don’t comply with the vaccine mandate will be redeployed, a Directorate spokesperson has said previously.

It’s not yet known how many educators will be unable to work from Monday onwards.

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A raft of restrictions in the ACT also eased this morning, with masks no longer required outdoors.

The household visitation limit has been increased to 10 people; capacity limits for hospitality venues have eased and community sport, dance classes, galleries, cinemas, gyms and swimming pools can operate.

From Monday (1 November), free travel between the ACT, NSW, including Greater Sydney and Victoria, is possible.

New quarantine arrangements for close and casual contacts will also commence from Monday.

More to come.

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