1 September 2022

Man in his 80s dies with COVID-19; AMA wants health advice on shorter isolation released

| Lottie Twyford
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Canberra Hospital

A man in his 80s died with COVID-19 overnight and there are now 92 patients in the Territory’s hospitals with the virus. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

A man in his 80s has become the Territory’s 124th COVID-19 fatality overnight and a further 199 cases (124 PCR and 75 RAT) have been reported.

The number of active infections has declined again to 1162 and 202,737 cases have been reported since March 2020.

There are 92 people in hospital with the virus, two in the ICU but no one requires ventilation.

COVID-19 vaccination data is reported weekly on Fridays. No schools have cohorts learning remotely today.

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The Australian Medical Association is calling for the release of medical and health advice that informed National Cabinet’s decision to reduce the isolation period for positive COVID-19 cases from seven days to five.

It has warned that “extra vigilance” will be required from governments and the community to prevent the continual spread of infections.

AMA president Professor Steve Robson said the health advice needed to be made public as the decision will mean many people re-entering the community after five days’ isolation will potentially still be infectious and pass the virus on.

“Throughout this pandemic, the AMA has continuously said governments must base their decision-making on health and medical advice and we need to see that advice and whether it supports today’s decision. If it doesn’t, the politicians need to explain themselves,” he said.

“As many as 30 per cent of people are likely to still be infectious on days six and seven – even longer. When isolation rules change, we need clear plans for protecting the vulnerable and careful monitoring, and if case numbers climb, then the isolation rules should be re-evaluated.”

The shortened isolation periods will come into effect next Friday (9 September). Disability support and aged care workers will still be required to quarantine for seven days.

People can only leave isolation if they are symptom-free.

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Speaking after National Cabinet yesterday, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the pandemic leave payments will be adjusted to reflect the new advice.

The ABC is reporting the payments will be reduced from $750 for seven days to $540 for five days.

Whether those payments will be extended beyond the current September deadline is still up in the air. The Prime Minister said that will be discussed at the next National Cabinet.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the decision had been made “on the weight of evidence and in recognition of the complex set of competing priorities”.

National Cabinet also agreed to drop the mask mandate on domestic flights from next Friday.

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Interstate, NSW has reported 23 deaths overnight and 4701 new cases of COVID-19.

There are now 1756 people in hospital with the virus and 36 patients in ICUs around the state.

The state’s health department said COVID-19-related deaths are notified from a range of sources and not all occurred in the week they are reported as there is sometimes a delay between a death occurring and it being notified.

Victoria has recorded 18 deaths overnight and 2645 cases of COVID-19.

There are 332 people hospitalised with the virus and 15 patients in the state’s intensive care units.

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