5 May 2020

No new COVID-19 cases in ACT, recovery hits three-quarters

| Dominic Giannini
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ACT Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman

The decrease in positive COVID-19 cases is a welcoming sign, but residents should not become complacent, ACT Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman says. Photo: Region Media.

UPDATED 3:30 pm, 14 April: The ACT has recorded no new cases of COVID-19 today (14 April), keeping the Territory’s total at 103, with three-quarters of confirmed cases making full recoveries.

Three COVID-19-positive patients remain in Canberra hospitals – two of whom are in intensive care – while the remainder are isolating at home with the help of ACT Health.

Around 25 per cent of cases remain active.

The slowing rate of confirmed cases is a welcome sign, ACT Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman said, but she warned against residents becoming complacent.

“What we really need now from the community is to continue with the physical distancing and excellent hand and respiratory hygiene that has helped us keep our numbers so low so far,” Dr Coleman said.

“I do expect to see more cases in Canberra and the ACT health system is prepared for that eventuality.

“We constantly review our testing criteria to ensure it is appropriate for the current stage of the pandemic and will continue to do so.”

Despite the ACT’s recently expanded testing criteria, there was still a drop in testing over Easter. Over 100 people who would not have otherwise met the testing criteria were swabbed and all returned negative results, Dr Coleman said.

“While the ACT has only recorded one new case in the past four days, which is obviously good news, we did see a drop off in people presenting for testing over the Easter long weekend,” Dr Coleman said.

“Even with our increased surveillance, through testing symptomatic people who otherwise do not meet the criteria, we still had a lower number of tests overall than we usually see.

“Other Australian jurisdictions also experienced a drop in people presenting for testing over the Easter long weekend but we expect this to start to increase again this week.”

Chief Minister Andrew Barr reiterated Dr Coleman’s message of vigilance and non-complacency, saying Canberrans are doing a tremendous job, but we could not afford to go backward.

“Avoid crowds at every opportunity,” he said. “At the moment three is a crowd.

“One crowd, one infected person and there it all goes again.”

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced today that people who have tested negative to the virus will get an SMS on the same day, but Dr Coleman said responses from ACT Health sent via SMS would take a bit longer.

Two deaths and 6,291 negative tests have been recorded in the ACT to date.

The ACT Government has established a dedicated COVID-19 website and helpline for all information about the health and economic response to the pandemic in the ACT. For further information visit www.covid19.act.gov.au or call the helpline on 02 6207 7244 between 8:00 am and 8:00 pm daily.

People who are concerned and want further information on the virus can also call the Australian Government’s 24-hour Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080.

For details on how the ACT stats compare to other jurisdictions across Australia visit the Australian Government Department of Health website.

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