11 November 2021

UPDATED: ACT records nine new cases; illegal 'superspreader' Halloween party linked to 33 COVID cases

| Lottie Twyford
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Nurse preparing COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine

According to ACT Health, 95.8 per cent of the ACT’s 12-plus population is fully vaccinated. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

UPDATED 12 pm: The ACT has recorded nine new cases of COVID-19 to 8 pm last night.

Yesterday there were also nine new cases.

As of 8 pm last night, there were no COVID patients in ACT hospitals.

According to ACT Health, 95.8 per cent of the ACT’s 12-plus population is fully vaccinated.

NSW has recorded 261 new cases and one death.

About 90.4 per cent of the 16-plus population is fully vaccinated.

Yesterday there were 216 new local cases and three deaths.

Victoria has recorded 1313 new locally acquired cases and four deaths.

About 85 per cent of Victorians aged 12-plus are fully vaccinated.

Yesterday, there are 1003 new local cases and 14 deaths.

Rachel Stephen-Smith MLA

Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said more cases from schools are likely to emerge. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

9:45 am: Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith has confirmed this morning that 33 cases of COVID-19 have now been linked to a Halloween party in Tuggeranong, which is now being called a ‘superspreader’ event.

Under the health directions in force for that particular weekend, only 10 visitors were allowed at any private residence.

A spokesperson for ACT Policing said the adult owner of the home was issued with an infringement for breaching the public health direction and fined $1,000.

Initially, ACT Policing had responded to a report of an assault at a private residence in Wanniassa at around 11:40 pm on Saturday, 30 October.

Upon arriving, police officers observed a large number of teenagers and one who “appeared to be under the influence of an intoxicating substance, and likely to be at risk of suffering harm”.

This young person was taken into protective custody for his own safety.

Investigations are continuing with a view to identifying who was present and other possible offences, they said.

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The announcement follows a number of venues in Tuggeranong and nightlife spots in the city being listed as exposure locations.

Two different venues at the Thoroughbred Park Melbourne Cup Day event on Tuesday, 2 November between 11 am and 6 pm have also been identified as exposure sites.

Another school has been affected by COVID-19, bringing the total number of impacted school campuses to 16.

The Canberra Girls Grammar boarding house is among the affected locations.

A COVID-positive person has attended Alfred Deakin High School from Monday, 1 November to Friday, 5 November, as well as Monday, 8 November and Tuesday, 9 November.

All students not identified as contacts have been able to return to school.

READ ALSO UPDATED: Flood risk for the ACT and NSW with up to 50 mm forecast for Friday

Speaking this morning on breakfast radio, Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said more cases from schools are likely to emerge given the long exposure times at some locations.

She sought to reassure families and students that if there is a COVID-19 case confirmed at their school, they will be directly contacted by the school, the Education Directorate or ACT Health if they are required to quarantine.

A major easing of restrictions will occur tonight at 11:59 pm. Any remaining ‘baseline’ public health measures will now be likely to stay in place until early next year.

Authorities still do not know what the caseload over the next few weeks will look like.

While cases are expected, Ms Stephen-Smith said it was still unclear how many are likely given the ACT’s high vaccination rates.

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Less than 2 weeks ago some kids held an “illegal” Halloween party that resulted in 33 cases. They did the wrong thing. Agreed. No argument.

Minister, I’m confused. Now that the ACT Government has brought forward a reduction in restrictions, if a similar house party this weekend results in a large number of cases, do we just accept that as the price of freedom?

Our vax rates are great. We should be proud of our nation leading results. I just can’t help feeling that some restrictions should have remained longer, such as masks in indoor settings.

Capital Retro10:48 am 11 Nov 21

Highly commercialized Halloween nonsense, young people, COVID 19 and alcohol.

What could possibly go wrong?

Sara-Rose Byrne3:15 pm 14 Nov 21

So we just stop young people living their youth? If we’re fully vaxxed, we need to get back to normal. Young people don’t deserve to spend their youth in lockdowns and restrictions

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