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(AUSTRALIA) #Coronavirus ACT Report: CANBERRA: Has reported 30 new #COVID19 infections, in what Chief Minister Andrew Barr said was a “record day of cases” for the national capital: The total number of active cases in the community is 167 #AceHealthDesk report

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#AceHealthReport – Aug.25: He said only 13 of the 30 new cases were in quarantine for their entire infectious period, while 11 were infectious in the community. Six cases remain under investigation about whether they were infectious while in the community……

#CoronavirusNewsDesk says that ACT reports 30 new #COVID19 cases, bringing total number of active infections in Canberra to 167…..

Mr Barr said a woman in her 40s with COVID-19 was now in intensive care in a Canberra hospital, receiving breathing assistance: Among the new cases are two disability support workers and one University of Canberra Hospital worker….

21 new cases are household contacts

A woman with curly hair speaks into a microphone.
ACT Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman says the rise in case numbers reveals the high infection rate of the Delta strain of COVID-19.(ABC News: Toby Hunt)

Police thankful for community support during COVID-19 response

ACT Policing would like to thank the Canberra community for its continued assistance and cooperation during the ACT COVID-19 lockdown.

Police continue to conduct compliance operations to support the public health directions.

Since the ACT-wide COVID-19 lockdown came into effect on Thursday, 12 August 2021, police have conducted 6212 compliance traffic stops, including at border checkpoints and random locations across the ACT.

Police have also conducted 2280 compliance checks at Canberra residences and businesses, in addition to more than 3000 conducted in the ACT since interstate restrictions prior to the local lockdown.

Twelve infringement notices and 36 cautions have been issued for public health direction breaches in the ACT during the lockdown period, with 101 people directed to leave the ACT.

ACT Policing COVID-19 Taskforce Superintendent Naomi Binstead thanked the community for their continued high level of compliance with the public health directions.

“Most people are doing the right thing, and I think it’s important to acknowledge our incredible community effort during this lockdown,” Superintendent Binstead said.

“We will continue to conduct compliance checks at homes and businesses. On the roads, we will work with our colleagues from NSW Police to ensure people entering the ACT have the appropriate exemptions or permissions to do so.

“Officers are still detecting people in Canberra who should not be here, which is of concern. Anyone who has not followed instructions of both ACT and NSW Health authorities will be ordered to leave the ACT or sent home and may be prosecuted.”

Today, ACT Policing arrested two men, aged 40 and 42, at the Barton Highway border crossing after they had travelled from Victoria through NSW without an exemption.

ACT Policing Superintendent of Communications Rebecca Goddard said police appreciated the information being supplied by the community.

“We are hearing from plenty of people who want the make sure the community is adhering to all the public health directions appropriately,” Superintendent Goddard said.

“So far during the lockdown, we have responded to more than 400 compliance complaints from the public. We do continue to receive some calls to emergency and 131 444 for health related questions that police can’t answer.

“I do also ask people to consider whether it may be better reporting a compliance concern online to Access Canberra instead of by phone to police or the ACT Government COVID-19 hotline.”

The most up-to-date COVID-19 information for the ACT can be found at the ACT COVID-19 website.

To make reports of non-compliance, you can complete a form via Access Canberra or contact the COVID-19 Helpline on 6207 7244 (8am-8pm, 7 days a week).

For police assistance call 131 444 and only contact Triple Zero (000) for emergencies.

ACT Chief Health Officer Kerryn Coleman said while the high number of cases might have come as a shock to many Canberrans, it was not necessarily surprising to health authorities.

She said it was a reminder of how fast the Delta strain of the virus could move through the community.

“Specifically of these new cases today, I can confirm that out of the 30, 25 can be linked to known cases or ongoing clusters,” Dr Coleman said.

“We know that 21 of the 25 are actually household contacts, and the remaining four come from existing clusters.”

She said while the number of people infectious in the community was “concerning”, it was not necessarily a sign that people were doing the “wrong thing” and said Canberrans should continue to adhere to lockdown restrictions.

“We are heading in the right direction … we just need to keep doing it for quite a bit longer,” Dr Coleman said.

Dr Coleman also confirmed that the woman in intensive care was not vaccinated and urged Canberrans to book a vaccine appointment.

More than 60 per cent of Canberra adults have now had at least one vaccination shot.

UC Hospital worker among positive cases

Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said the University of Canberra Hospital worker who tested positive had been in a support service role.

“Canberra Health Services responded immediately on being informed of the positive case and all staff members that are close contacts of this team member have been identified and are in quarantine,” she said.

“The team member was wearing a surgical mask and goggles while in clinical areas, while they were unknowingly infectious, which means the risk to staff and patients is considered very low.”

Rachel speaks from a lectern during a press conference.
ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said 500 Canberrans had returned to the healthcare workforce amid Canberra’s outbreak of COVID-19.(ABC News: Tobias Hunt)

‘The more vaccinated Canberrans, the better protected our community’

About 700 ACT health workers are currently in isolation or quarantine as a result of the growing list of exposure sites, but Ms Stephen-Smith said those who had initially been exposed had started to return to work.

She also said about 500 people had also been recruited back into the workforce to help ease pressure on the system.

There are now just under 400 exposure sites in the ACT, including a construction site and a public service building – the Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s head office.

More than 12,000 Canberrans have been identified as close contacts, while there are more than 6,000 casual contacts.

Mr Barr reminded Canberra residents to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

“The more Canberrans who are vaccinated, the better protected our community will be from the virus and from the decisions of other governments that are beyond the control of the ACT government,” he said.

“Vaccination remains absolutely critical in stopping the spread of the virus and protecting our community.”

Yesterday, the ACT government announced that 16–29-year-olds in the ACT would soon be able to register for a Pfizer vaccine and book their appointments in the weeks ahead.

By this morning, 9,000 people in that group had already registered.

Mr Barr today reminded that cohort of more than 64,000 people that AstraZeneca could be an option for some of them.

“Yesterday more than 12,000 Canberrans aged 16-29 registered on the My Digital Health Record website for a Pfizer vaccine at an ACT government clinic,” he said.

“We again encourage Canberrans in this age cohort to get online and register. We will open bookings in September for vaccinations in October.

“[But] the fact is it will take some time based on the available supply of Pfizer, which is why I remind you that the AstraZeneca vaccine is available now.”

A mass vaccination hub to accommodate the cohort is in the planning stage at AIS Arena.

“As soon as we’re able to open booking for that with the additional supply, we will do that, we expect it to be early next month,” Ms Stephen-Smith said.

There are also plans to convert a mental health ward at Calvary Hospital into a respiratory assessment unit, she said.

“The unit will provide an area dedicated to respiratory patients who are COVID positive or suspected to have COVID,” she said.

“This means patients aren’t placed in short-stay or other in-patient wards.”

Doctor places bandage on patient's arm where vaccine was injected.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr reminded Canberrans to book a vaccine appointment.(Unsplash)

Mr Barr said the ACT government was also re-establishing commercial and residential tenancy protections, last used when Canberra was in lockdown in 2020.

“That work continues, and key stakeholders are being engaged on the detail of that now,” he said.

“In the interim, we encourage landlords and tenants to engage with each other in good faith.”

He said it was too early to speculate on how long the lockdown would last.

“It’s still too early to be speculating on where we’re going to be in over a week’s time,” he said.

“The number and the issues that are most pertinent are people’s time in the community, and then the public health settings that impact on transmission potential more broadly.”

#AceHealthDesk report ……Published: Aug.25: 2021:

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