UPDATED 2:45 pm: A positive case has been recorded in Goulburn and will be included in tomorrow’s case numbers.
The Southern NSW Local Health District has confirmed that there are no public exposure sites related to the case as the person was not in the community during the infectious period.
The individual works in the ACT and has a residential address in Goulburn. The case has been linked to a Canberra exposure site.
A small number of close contacts are in isolation and testing is underway.
Additional capacity has been set up at the Goulburn hospital testing clinic.
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12:30 pm: There are 22 new cases of COVID-19 in the ACT, but health authorities say they have succeeded in linking all but four of Canberra’s cases to other known diagnoses.
Many of the new diagnoses are among younger people and the median age of those affected is 19.5 years. Seventeen cases have been linked to Lyneham High School resulting in thousands of students, staff and families entering quarantine.
At this stage, there have been no further cases identified at the Greenway Views aged care facility.
Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman told today’s COVID-19 briefing that there are still no hospitalisations and that in the last 24 hours, 8417 tests have been conducted in the ACT, making a total of 25,000 tests since lockdown began, representing about 6 per cent of the population as a whole.
Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said that urgent extra AstraZeneca supplies are being delivered to community pharmacies, and nine general practices are also seeking urgent extra AstraZeneca supplies.
“Once again we are seeing Canberrans enthusiastic about getting vaccinated,” she said.
She noted that the ACT’s health system is stressed but coping and thanked volunteers from the SES and community fire units who are volunteering in support roles from contact tracing to supporting people waiting in queues.
The public pathology laboratory is operating on a 24/7 basis, and Minister Stephen-Smith said that yesterday the team processed four times as many tests as last week.
But Chief Minister Andrew Barr warned that the ACT is “among the most exposed, if not the most exposed, when it comes to the NSW outbreak”, where a record 633 new cases have been identified.
“That will clearly have an impact on the settings we can put in place,” he said.
“We’ve put a lot of measures in place to have our outbreak not follow the same path as the NSW outbreak.”
Canberrans have also been strongly urged not to travel to Yass for testing, although the ACT is working in collaboration with NSW Health to enable overflow testing in Queanbeyan when local facilities are under particular stress.
Around 12,500 people are now in quarantine including 10,500 close contacts linked to the ACT. A remaining 2000 are linked to interstate outbreaks.
Mr Barr said that there is now considerable pressure on food delivery services and the government has been engaging with major supermarkets to prioritise deliveries for people in quarantine.
He thanked small business and grocery providers for going “above and beyond” to meet demand. There are also measures in place for food deliveries for people who are vulnerable.
Vaccination rates are well above the national average. Around 57 per cent of Canberrans have received their first dose of vaccine and one-third of Canberrans are fully vaccinated.
Mr Barr said that conversations continue with industry stakeholders for COVID-safe business in the next few weeks, including home delivery for local small businesses and arrangements for construction to restart.
“However, as I said yesterday, now is not the time to be easing restrictions,” Mr Barr said.
“Work will continue to chart a path forward, but anyone who looks at NSW numbers today and what’s occurring there now knows that this is not the time to ease restrictions.”
The ACT Government has been engaging positively with the Commonwealth regarding jointly funded business support programs including commercial tenancies relief and additional tourism support, particularly for privately operated attractions including the Canberra Zoo.
The ACT is also looking at micro-business grants with the Commonwealth and expanding the existing small business hardship scheme.
“As we come towards the end of the first week of the ACT lockdown, I want to thank Canberrans for their tremendous community spirit,” the Chief Minister said,
“This community has responded amazingly to the circumstances. This has been a really tough winter across Australia, especially in Canberra.
“I want to hold out hope that we will get through this but we need to look after each other. Please stay at home. But do keep in touch via social media or the telephone. That sort of support will be essential as we got through the next few weeks of lockdown”.
UPDATED 11:55 am: Chief Minister Andrew Barr has announced 22 new COVID-19 cases in ACT. All cases have been linked to existing cases.
This brings the total number in the ACT to 67. None are in hospital.
A total of 8417 tests were conducted in the past 24 hours.
Mr Barr has urged people to remain at home and not visit others, but to keep in touch with family and friends by phone or the internet.
Dr Kerryn Coleman confirmed that only four of 67 cases remain under investigation. ACT Health is monitoring all cases, but the list of self-identified close contacts now exceeds 10,000. There are also more than 190 exposure locations.
To remain up to date on the ACT locations, visit covid19.act.gov.au.
NSW recorded 633 new COVID-19 cases and three more deaths in the past 24 hours.
Speaking at her daily briefing, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian declared “we haven’t seen the worst of it”.
Sixty people have died in NSW since the Delta outbreak began on 16 June.
9:00 am: The ACT Government is calling for recently retired nurses or nurses taking time off to return to the profession and help the ACT’s COVID-19 efforts after 400 Canberra Health Services and Calvary Hospital staff were forced into isolation.
Contact tracers and testing clinics in the ACT are under mounting pressure to contain the growing delta outbreak as the list of exposure sites continues to grow – expanding into five schools as of Wednesday morning (18 August).
Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith also said the government was also looking at ways to incorporate nursing and medical students into the workforce.
If you are interested in joining the nursing ranks and can lend a hand, call 02 5124 6140 or visit the ACT job search website.
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8:00 am: Three more schools have been added to the list of COVID-19 exposure sites in the ACT.
This means the virus has sent at least four school communities across Canberra into isolation in the past week.
Anyone at Harrison School primary or secondary campuses on Wednesday, 11 August or Thursday, 12 August between 8:30 am and 3:30 pm is considered a close contact and must get tested and quarantine for 14 days.
Anyone at St Thomas Aquinas Primary School in Charnwood on Thursday, 12 August between 8:30 am to 4:00 pm is considered a close contact.
Anyone at the UC Secondary College Lake Ginninderra gym and cafeteria/canteen on Monday, 9 August between 10:00 am and 1:30 pm is also a close contact.
Yum Cha Cuisine at the Westfield Belconnen food court and IGA in Evatt are also listed as exposure locations.
A full list of exposure locations is available at www.covid19.act.gov.au.
ACT Senator Katy Gallagher has also confirmed on social media that her daughter Evie was one of Tuesday’s positive cases, sending the former ACT chief minister into quarantine for 14 days.
This morning we were advised that my gorgeous daughter Evie has tested positive for COVID-19. One of Canberra’s 17 positive cases today.
— Katy Gallagher (@SenKatyG) August 17, 2021
Senator Gallagher said her daughter was “pretty unwell and understandably worried” but that she was grateful for the medical and personal support the family was receiving.
The rest of the family have so far returned negative results.
More to come.