18 January 2022

UPDATED: Woman dies in ACT nursing home, backlog distorts COVID case numbers

| Ian Bushnell
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Canberra Hospital

Canberra Health Services is responding to a COVID-19 exposure on one of its general medical wards at Canberra Hospital.

Another ACT person has died with COVID-19 as ACT Health reported that the number of new cases had raced from 1601 to 1860 in the 24 hours to 8 pm last night, but it has since been discovered that a backlog of test results inflated the figures.

The death of the woman in her 80s at an unnamed residential aged care facility means that four people have died with the virus since Sunday, bringing the total number of deaths in the ACT since the pandemic began to 20.

The number of people in hospital is also climbing, increasing from 54 to 63, with six in intensive care, including two being ventilated.

The new cases come from 976 PCR and 884 rapid antigen tests, and there are now 3585 active cases in the Territory.

But today’s new cases from positive PCR results include samples collected from 12 January onwards. Capital Pathology continues to process a backlog of PCR tests collected from last week prior to the temporary closure of the Kambah, Nicholls and Holt testing centres.

Capital Pathology has advised that tests being processed from this period are anticipated to be completed today.

The vaccination rate for ACT residents aged 12 and over is steady at 98.6 per cent, those 18 and over who have received their booster sits at 31.8 per cent, while 30.2 per cent of children aged 5 to 11 have received one dose.

The increasing hospital numbers come as Canberra Health Services says it is responding to a COVID-19 exposure on one of its general medical wards at Canberra Hospital.

Urgent PCR testing of all patients and RATs of team members was undertaken and precautionary measures were put in place to ensure no further transmission.

CHS says it is treating a number of COVID-positive patients across the hospital.

“Many of these were admitted to hospital needing treatment for other reasons, and have been diagnosed with COVID-19 through surveillance testing,” CHS says.

Region Media understands the Infectious Diseases ward was affected, but it is unclear if the initial exposure came from a COVID-19 case in a staff member or a patient.

NSW recorded its deadliest day of the pandemic with 36 deaths in the 24 hours to 8 pm yesterday, bringing the total number of COVID-19 deaths to 919.

The number of people with the virus in hospital rose to 2,850 and there were 209 people in ICU.

There were 29,830 new cases in NSW, taken from 13,763 RAT tests and 16,067 PCR tests.

In Victoria, hospital numbers fell from 1229 to 1152, but a further 22 people died.

Of the patients in hospital, 127 were in intensive care, with 43 were being ventilated.

The state recorded 20,180 new COVID-19 infections from 8,433 PCR results and 11,747 at-home rapid antigen tests.

Queensland has recorded another 16 deaths, the state’s highest figure since the pandemic began. There were 15,962 new cases and 819 people are in hospital. There are 50 people in ICU.

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