25 May 2022

Local COVID-19 infections jump; prison, bus network, schools all impacted by the virus

| Lottie Twyford
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Prison wing

The COVID-19 outbreak at the Territory’s jail continues to grow, with 55 inmates now infected. Photo: File.

Daily COVID-19 infections have jumped slightly today, with ACT Health reporting 934 (506 PCR and 428 RAT) new infections in the latest reporting period. There were 820 new cases yesterday.

It comes as the pandemic continues to cause disruptions to daily life across the ACT.

Four ACT public schools are currently operating on a partially remote basis, and Year 7 to 10 students at Saint Francis Xavier College in Florey are learning from home for one day a week for a short period.

For the week ending Sunday, 22 May, 504 cases of COVID-19 were reported in 76 ACT public schools (years K-12). While these numbers are not as high as in term one when more than 1000 COVID-19 infections were being reported in the Territory’s schools on a weekly basis, the data from term one covered Catholic systemic and non-government schools, while the new data only accounts for government schools.

The ACT’s bus network is also being affected by the pandemic. It’s understood that 60 drivers are furloughed as of today, although Transport Canberra and City Services said it is managing shortages by back-filling drivers and expects minimal disruptions to services.

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At the prison, 55 inmates have been infected with COVID-19, 30 of whom have recovered.

Last week a spokesperson for the Justice and Community Safety Directorate said 15 staff members had been furloughed due to the virus but none had been directly impacted due to the Alexander Maconochie Centre’s outbreak.

That same COVID-induced pressure is also leading to some elective surgeries being postponed – around 11 each day, Canberra Health Services CEO Dave Peffer said yesterday (24 May).

Around 150 healthcare workers are furloughed at any given time.

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Since the pandemic began, 127,556 (77,987 PCR and 49,569 RAT) COVID-19 cases have been recorded locally and there are now 4981 (2615 PCR and 2366 RAT) active infections in the ACT.

A total of 88 people are now hospitalised with the virus and one person is in the ICU requiring ventilation.

There has been a slow and steady decline in hospitalisations from Sunday’s record high of 92. Yesterday, 90 people were hospitalised with COVID-19.

Vaccination rates remain steady. The double-dose vaccination rate for the ACT’s five-plus population remains 97.2 per cent and 76.3 per cent of residents aged 16 and older have now received a booster.

Of ACT residents aged five to 11, 67.7 per cent have received two doses of vaccine.

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Interstate, NSW has reported 11 deaths overnight and 8970 new cases of COVID-19.

There are now 1209 people in hospital with the virus and 35 people in ICUs around the state.

Victoria has reported 17 deaths overnight and 13,023 cases of COVID-19.

There are now 567 people hospitalised with the virus, while 37 patients are in the state’s intensive care units.

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CaptainSpiff4:41 pm 25 May 22

One (1) person in ICU. This is quite the pandemic isn’t it.

The problem with back-filling staff absentees, whether it be driving buses, in hospitals, teaching or in prisons is that it is only a short-term solution; it’s not sustainable.

People will get burnt out and join the big resignation.

The general public doesn’t seem as enthusiastic about getting their 3rd shot, as they were to get their 2nd, because the forced “incentive” of restrictions has been removed. (Higher risk people are now eligible for a 4th shot).

With an explosion of flu cases, in addition to Covid, just maybe the Government needs to consider bringing back masks, at least for winter?

Or WFH, where ACT public servants excel

“Long COVID”. The best excuse to be lazy of all time!

“Long Covid”, an excuse to be lazy?

I don’t know much about “Long Covid”, but I’d expect anyone with it would strongly prefer not to have it and would be offended to be called lazy.

What I do know is that everyday Covid is infectious and that hospitals are cancelling operations including cancer treatments, supply chains worldwide have been disrupted causing delays, products have increased in cost etc. There are a couple of large Australian construction companies that have gone under and so on. We have been lucky here because ScoMo closed the borders until the vaccine rollout was advanced but worldwide, millions have died. All because of everyday Covid. I’m not sure how much of this was caused by laziness? Maybe if we call put a mask on for winter, we could all reduce the risk of being called lazy? ?

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