15 July 2020

Record testing in the ACT finds no new cases of COVID-19

| Michael Weaver
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COVID-19 testing

COVID-19 testing rates have more than doubled since the criteria widened. Photo: File.

A record number of COVID-19 tests in Canberra has revealed no new cases of the virus for the fifth day in succession.

ACT Health recorded 1129 negative tests for the virus in the past 24 hours, which a spokesperson for ACT Health confirmed was the highest number of negative tests since the pandemic began.

There remain five active cases of coronavirus in the ACT. The most recent case was confirmed last Friday (10 July).

The number of negative tests in the ACT is now 37,443.

The Garran Oval ED was converted into a testing centre last weekend due to the increased demand of Canberrans presenting themselves for testing after the Territory recorded its first COVID-19 cases in over a month last week.

The walk-in centre at Garran saw 150 presentations over the weekend, while more than 1050 people presented themselves for testing across the Garran, EPIC and Weston Creek sites, ACT Health said.

Testing clinics are also open at Greenway, Narrabundah, West Belconnen and Crace.
Canberra remains at stage 2.2 of its recovery plan. Stage three of the plan will come into effect following advice from the Chief Health Officer and a public health checkpoint expected before Friday next week (24 July).

This has meant all hospitals and community health centres tightened their restrictions, allowing one visitor per patient, per day.

Canberrans are also being advised not to travel to Campbelltown or Liverpool after clusters of COVID-19 have been identified in those areas.

NSW Health has issued further advice on cases associated with the Crossroads Hotel in Casula and now the Picton Hotel in Picton.

Canberrans who visited the Crossroads Hotel between 3 and 10 July, as well as people who visited the Picton Hotel on 4 July, 9 July or 10 July, or Planet Fitness in Casula between 4 and 10 July are urged to isolate immediately and get in touch with ACT Health through the COVID-19 Helpline on 02 6207 7244.

“These people are also encouraged to get tested for COVID-19, regardless of whether they are showing symptoms,” said ACT Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman.

“This will help us in assisting the NSW Government in their efforts to establish the source of infection at the hotel. If you weren’t in these hotels during these times, there is no need to turn up to one of our COVID-19 testing centres unless you have symptoms.”

An alert has also been issued for anyone who may have visited Café Borellas in Albury on 30 June. The cafe was visited by a traveller who has only recently been diagnosed with COVID-19. The person was on the premises for approximately 45 minutes.

Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith warned Canberrans who plan on travelling outside the ACT to remain vigilant about COVID-19 restrictions in other jurisdictions. She said the rapidly changing situation could impede travellers at very short notice.

“The pandemic is not over and we must continue to be vigilant,” Ms Stephen-Smith said. “This includes maintaining appropriate physical distancing measures and practicing good hand hygiene.”

More than 400 ACT residents remain in self-isolation after returning from COVID-19 hotspots in Victoria or Sydney.

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