26 November 2021

UPDATED: ACT records eight new COVID-19 cases; NSW flags changes to mask rules, check-ins

| Lottie Twyford
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Burgmann School

Burgmann Anglican School (Valley Campus) is the latest school to have been exposed to the virus. Photo: Google Maps.

UPDATED 12 pm: The ACT has recorded eight new cases of COVID-19 in the 24 hours to 8 pm yesterday.

A total of 1715 negative tests were received in the 24 hours to 9 am today; there are currently 175 active cases in the ACT.

There are a total of seven active and cleared cases in ACT hospitals as of 8 pm yesterday, including four in intensive care and four on ventilators.

Of the Territory’s 12-plus population, 97.6 per cent are now fully vaccinated.

Yesterday, the ACT recorded eight new cases of COVID-19 and an additional two high schools were listed as COVID-19 exposure sites.

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A cafe and several churches have been listed this morning as the latest COVID-19 exposure sites. All are deemed casual exposure sites.

The churches concerned are St Monica’s Catholic Church in Evatt on Sunday, 21 November, between 9:40 am and 11:30 am; St John The Apostle’s Catholic Church in Holt on Monday, 22 November, between 9 am and 11 am; and St Michael’s Church in Kaleen on Tuesday, 23 November, between 9:20 am and 10:15 am.

Coffee Guru in Gungahlin was also exposed to the virus on Tuesday, 23 November, between 12 midday and 1:30 pm.

A potentially infectious person also visited the Burgmann Anglican School (Valley Campus) on Monday, 22 November.

In NSW, there are 261 new cases and no deaths.

There are 185 people in hospitals across the state with the virus and 27 in ICU.

NSW Health said 94.5 per cent of the 16-plus population has had their first dose, and 92.2 per cent has had two doses.

In Victoria, there are 1362 new cases and seven deaths.

There are 308 Victorians hospitalised with COVID-19, and 90 per cent of the state’s eligible population (12 and over) is fully vaccinated.

Check In CBR advertisement

Using the Check In CBR app in the ACT remains mandatory, although most QR codes will be scrapped in NSW next month. Photo: Region Media.

10 am: The NSW Government has, as expected, flagged changes to its mask and check-in rules which will come into effect from 15 December, or whenever the state hits its 95 per cent full vaccination rate – whichever is soonest.

As of yesterday, 92.1 per cent of the state’s 16-plus population is currently fully vaccinated; in the ACT, 97.5 per cent of the population aged 12 and up are fully vaccinated.

While the ACT already has more relaxed rules in relation to mask-wearing than its neighbouring state, Region Media understands check-ins aren’t likely to be relaxed at this time.

Under the new NSW rules announced yesterday (25 November), masks will only be required on public transport, planes, airports, and unvaccinated front-of-house hospitality staff.

As in the ACT, masks will strongly be encouraged in settings where people cannot socially distance.

QR check-ins will be scaled back to high-risk settings like hospitals, aged and disability care facilities, gyms, places of worship, funerals and beauty venues. The Check In CBR app is still mandatory.

They will still be required at pubs, bars, clubs and nightclubs, as well as at indoor music festivals with more than 1000 patrons.

Density limits for businesses and venues will be scrapped and COVID-safe plans will become optional for businesses.

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Under Public Health Orders, proof of vaccination will no longer be required for most activities and venues, although businesses can still require it at their own discretion.

Proof of vaccination has never been required in the ACT for entry to venues.

ACT Health is monitoring the situation interstate concerning changes to close and casual contacts, as well as further relaxing check-in requirements. Given the rapidly evolving nature of all COVID-19 rules, they are unable to provide any exact dates around when changes are expected to come into effect.

Rachel Stephen-Smith

Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith last week said. Photo: Dominic Giannini.

Last Friday (19 November), Minister for Health Rachel Stephen-Smith said while changes had already been made to the test, trace, isolate and quarantine system since lockdown ended, changing check-in requirements at ‘low risk’ venues would still be considered moving forward.

She said Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman was in conversation with her NSW counterparts, so arrangements may be aligned as much as possible.

Restrictions on all ACT businesses ended today – the last businesses affected by forced closures were indoor playgrounds, given the risk of COVID-19. The ACT Government gave each business a $20,000 grant to remain shut for November.

Burgmann Anglican School (Valley Campus) has also been listed as an exposure site on the ACT’s COVID-19 website. A person who was potentially infectious with the virus visited campus on Monday, 22 November.

Any affected students and families will be contacted directly by ACT Health or the school.

Coffee Guru Gungahlin is the only new exposure site added overnight. It’s been listed as a casual contact site for Tuesday, 23 November, between midday and 3:30 pm.

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