2 April 2020

UPDATED: $126 million health injection, four new COVID-19 cases

| Ian Bushnell
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Weston Walk-in Centre

There is still no evidence of community transmission. Photo: Canberra Health Services.

The ACT Government has announced a $126 million boost to health services to help fight the COVID-19 virus, as the daily update showed only four new confirmed in the past 24 hours, bringing the Territory total to 87.

ACT Health says the new cases consist of one man and three women, aged between 21 and 60. All four cases are linked to overseas travel, including on cruise ships.

One case remains under investigation and there is still no evidence of community transmission in the ACT.

There are eight COVID-19 patients in Canberra hospitals. Four of these are in intensive care, doubling the number in the ICU.

A total of 11 cases have recovered from COVID-19 and have been released from self-isolation. The rest are isolating at home with ACT Health support.

There have been 4,931 negative COVID-19 tests in the ACT to date.

Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said the new spending – a 50-50 arrangement with the Commonwealth- included $23 million for Aspen Medical to build a temporary COVID-19 emergency department on or near the Canberra Hospital campus.

It would also allow an additional 131 beds at Canberra Hospital and support Calvary Public Hospital to deliver dedicated COVID-19 wards and expanded ICU capacity.

There will be money for more personal protective equipment and other medical supplies for doctors and nurses, respiratory clinics and a 24/7 radiography service.

Health protection services will be boosted so staff can continue contact tracing and COVID-19 testing with ACT Pathology ”that we need to do to ensure we are flattening the curve and identifying every case of COVID-19 in the community, trace every contact, have those people in quarantine and reduce the threat of COVID-19 through the community”.

Ms Stephen-Smith said the small increase in confirmed cases offered some hope that the quarantine and physical distancing measures were working but she again warned that there will be community transmission eventually.

She said the measures bought the ACT time to prepare for the eventual increased caseload.

The ACT has recorded one death, and after further testing, another of the ACT’s cases has been determined to have not been COVID-19 and has been removed from the ACT’s total. As a result, the total for the ACT has only increased by three today despite recording four new confirmed cases.

This is the third case to be removed from the ACT’s statistics.

The ACT Government has established a dedicated COVID-19 website for all information about the health and economic response to the pandemic in the ACT. For further information, visit www.covid19.act.gov.au or call the Australian Government’s Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080. The line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

For details on how the ACT statistics compare to other jurisdictions across Australia, visit the Australian Government Department of Health website. This information is updated daily.

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