2 February 2022

Free RAT rollout helps ease demand; 549 new COVID-19 cases in the ACT

| Lottie Twyford
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Rapid antigen covid test

Supply constraints are beginning to ease as demand slows for rapid antigen tests. Photo: Damien Larkins.

The ACT has recorded 549 new cases of COVID-19 in the latest reporting period. It’s the first day in over a week that the daily caseload has been higher than the previous days. Yesterday, 522 cases were recorded.

There are now 61 people in hospital, including one in intensive care who requires ventilation.

Yesterday, there were 64 patients in hospital, including one in ICU requiring ventilation.

The latest cases have been identified from 352 positive PCR results and 197 rapid antigen tests, taking the number of active cases in the ACT to 3386 (2151 PCR and 1235 RAT).

All ACT Government testing clinics are open today and ACT Health said turnaround times for results are still between 24 and 48 hours.

The Territory’s 12-plus vaccination rate remains steady at 98.6 per cent.

Over half (50.4 per cent) of the Territory’s 18-plus population has now received a booster shot, while over 70 per cent (70.3 per cent) of the population aged five to 11 has received one dose.

READ ALSO As demand for boosters slows, health authorities want to know why

Pharmacies and other stockists of rapid antigen tests (RATs) in Canberra are beginning to breathe a sigh of relief as demand is easing.

ACT Pharmacy Guild branch president Simon Blacker attributed this to the rollout of free rapid antigen tests through schools which is now well underway.

Students and teachers will be given two tests per week for the first four weeks of term.

He said this is making it easier for the general public to access RATS and for concession cardholders to receive their free supplies.

“Supply is still somewhat constrained, but certainly I feel somewhat like there are more tests available through pharmacies, and more patients are getting access to them,” Mr Blacker told ABC Radio this morning.

ACT pharmacies have already distributed 30,000 free tests to eligible locals since the scheme began on Monday (24 January).

READ ALSO Government rejects claims of a drop in spending on public housing

Interstate, NSW has reported 30 deaths overnight and 11,807 new cases (6314 RATs, 5493 PCR).

Hospitalisations remain steady at 2749. There are 170 people in ICUs around the state, down from 183 in the previous reporting period.

NSW Health says 40.6 per cent of the state’s eligible population has received a booster dose, and 94 per cent of the 16-plus population has received two shots.

Victoria has reported 25 deaths overnight and an additional 14,553 cases of COVID-19 from 6932 RATs and 7621 PCR tests.

There are now 768 people hospitalised with the virus – down from 851 reported yesterday. Of the state’s 12-plus population, 93 per cent is now fully vaccinated, and 40 per cent of the state’s eligible population has received three doses of the vaccine.

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My question is shouldn’t the prime Minister be here when there is a major issue like this new variant instead of galivanting all over the globe. There are major issues in this country that needs his leadership.

If this is as bad as they say then there is trouble coming. Cutting pandemic pay to casuals, RAT tests to pensioners will lead to more sick people not testing and mingling in public. I guess the only solution for pensioners is the more expensive CPR tests.

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