Authorities focus on high-risk cases as Canberra COVID infections rise | The Canberra Times

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The ACT’s health chief said the territory was still on track to lift its lockdown next week despite an increase in the number of cases, but warned that this could change quickly if COVID-safe behavior is not maintained. Authorities have sounded the alarm over a number of people waiting nearly two weeks to get a COVID test after developing symptoms as Canberra’s weekly case average has jumped. Chief Health Officer Dr. Kerryn Coleman said about 40 percent of people had waited at least two days to get a test, and 10 percent had waited at least five days. A small portion had also waited between 10 and 13 days. “These statistics are going in the wrong direction,” said Dr. Coleman. “I can assure you that we are currently on track to meet our timeframe for easing restrictions, we are looking for a good result on October 15.” Things can change very quickly in the COVID world as we have seen, and if we do not maintain our COVID-safe behavior, then this can happen. “Dr. Coleman also revealed that ACT health authorities will change their reporting of COVID cases to focus on cases that pose a risk of transmitting the virus to the community. There were 33 new cases reported in ACT on Tuesday. Twenty-twenty cases have been linked to known sources, and the source of the remaining five is under investigation.For the new cases, six were quarantined throughout their period of infection and 14 had spent part of the period in the community and posed a risk of transmission to others.The remaining 13 had spent part of their time in the community, but they posed a minimal risk of transfer, which is an important change in reporting cases in the area. “Moving for department, we will focus our reporting only on those who may pose a risk to transfer to others in the community, not those we further assess, constitute a limited or very low level of risk, “said Dr. Coleman.” Now we are confident in adapting our reporting to focus more in these cases with greater risk in our society. “This comes after an increase in COVID cases in the past week after back-to-back record days by 52 cases. Dr. Coleman said the increase had caused the ACT’s weekly case number average to jump from 123.5 cases to 132. MORE COVID-19 NEWS: She said the proportion of positive tests had also risen from 0.7 percent to 2 percent. “What this helps to tell us is that there is actually a true increase in cases, and it’s not just potentially due to an increase in testing,” said Dr. Coleman. Household and close contacts accounted for 70 percent of new cases in the past week. Health authorities had also identified several clusters where the transfer took place, and close contacts of cases tested positive in the same week. Dr. Coleman remained hopeful that ACT’s current lockdown could be lifted next Friday 15. October. She said factors that would be considered in any review of this would include the level of non-linked cases, reduced risk transmission and vaccination coverage. She said the ACT’s vaccination uptake was encouraging as the territory was preparing to reopen. 65 percent of people over the age of 12 have been fully vaccinated. “It happily reduces my anxiety levels quite significantly to be able to move on through our lockdown steps,” said Dr. Coleman. “I really want our number of cases to be as low as we can keep them as we move on to our next phase.” Our coverage of the health and safety aspects of this outbreak of COVID-19 in ACT and lockdown is free for all to access. However, we rely on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you can, you can subscribe here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support. You can also sign up for our regular newsletter. Our journalists work hard to deliver local, up-to-date news to the community. Here’s how to continue accessing our trusted content:

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