30 June 2022

Man in his 50s becomes 79th pandemic death; hospitalisations hit another record; women more at risk of long-COVID

| Lottie Twyford
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Gloria Gardiner begins rehab

Gloria Gardiner (right) began her rehab program at the Post COVID Recovery Clinic in April. Photo: Lottie Twyford.

A man in his 50s has died with COVID-19 in the last reporting period, taking the ACT’s total pandemic death toll to 79.

It comes as the Territory records another 1250 cases of COVID-19 overnight and there are now 122 people in hospital – a new record.

There are two people in the ICU and one being ventilated.

New data has also been released showing that women, particularly those in their 50s, are most at risk of developing ‘long COVID’.

The study, conducted by researchers at King’s College in London, found the odds of women developing long COVID are as much as 50 per cent higher than for men.

People with poor health, including asthma, and those aged between 50 to 60 years, are also more likely to report long COVID.

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In April this year, Canberra Health Services opened the Post-COVID Recovery Clinic at the University of Canberra Hospital.

There are still no concrete figures on how many people who contract the virus will develop long COVID; some overseas data points to around 10 to 30 per cent of patients being affected.

With rising case numbers due to the spread of the BA.4 and BA.5 variants, there are concerns this will inevitably lead to an increase in the number of people left with long COVID.

Gloria Gardiner outside long COVID clinic

Gloria Gardiner was one of the first patients to require the services of the Territory’s Post-COVID Recovery Clinic. Photo: Lottie Twyford.

Gloria Gardiner was one of the first people to make use of the long COVID clinic.

Following her infection, the previously fit and active woman could not return to her usual energy and activity levels. Instead, she found herself struggling to breathe and coughing frequently.

She also had to return to taking daily asthma medication – something she hadn’t needed in a long time pre-COVID.

Common symptoms of long COVID include extreme fatigue, shortness of breath or chest tightness, brain fog, difficulty with memory and joint pain.

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Locally, an additional school cohort has been sent home for the remainder of Term Two (which ends tomorrow).

Preschoolers at Red Hill Primary School will remain at home for the rest of the week. They join their peers in Years 1 and 2 at Duffy Primary School and Years 7 and 8 at Lanyon Primary School.

With the 1250 (706 PCR and 544 RAT) cases recorded overnight, there are now 6730 (3612 PCR and 3118 RAT) active infections in the Territory.

A total of 157,678 (94,544 PCR and 63,134 RAT) COVID-19 cases have been recorded since the pandemic began in March 2020.

Yesterday, the ACT reported 1458 new COVID-19 infections and there were 116 people in hospital with the virus, including one person in ICU requiring ventilation. It was the highest number of daily cases reported in the Territory since Omicron peaked in January this year.

The double-dose vaccination rate for the ACT’s five-plus population remains 97.4 per cent and 77.3 per cent of residents aged 16 and older have received a booster.

Of ACT residents aged five to 11, 68.9 per cent have received two doses of vaccine.

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Interstate, NSW has reported 23 deaths overnight and 11,504 new cases of COVID-19.

There are now 1534 people in hospital with the virus and 23 people in ICUs around the state.

Victoria has reported 17 deaths overnight and 9926 cases of COVID-19.

There are now 465 people hospitalised with the virus while 21 patients are in the state’s intensive care units.

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