Sun. Dec 5th, 2021

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The seventh death of Canberra’s COVID-19 outbreak has raised concerns for vulnerable members of society, as experts warn that these groups will still be at serious risk of the virus. A sixth death in connection with the Calvary Haydon Retirement Community will be announced on Thursday, bringing the total COVID-related deaths in Canberra to 10 since the start of the pandemic. The Canberra Times may also reveal that contact trackers have identified the source of the outbreak as a resident, despite initial reports an employee was the source. News of the death came after the ACT registered an increase in new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday with 51 new cases. Of the new cases reported in ACT on Wednesday, 32 were related to known cases. Thirteen cases were quarantined throughout their period of infection, and 22 who spent time in the community posed a risk of transmission to others. ACT’s latest death was not reported in Wednesday’s COVID update as it happened after 8pm and will be officially announced by authorities on Thursday. But a statement from Calvary said the resident received end-of-life care before testing positive for the virus on September 28. Nine residents and four employees are connected to the outbreak. “The deaths of our residents have caused significant grief and loss to their loved ones, the other residents and our staff who have cared for them during their time at Calvary Haydon,” a spokesman for Calvary said. ACT Health has also confirmed that a resident was the first source of the outbreak. “ACT Health can confirm the index of the outbreak at the Calvary Haydon Aged Care Facility was resident, even though it was an employee who was the first identified positive case,” an ACT Health spokesman said. The sixth death has served as a timely reminder that even if the territory comes out of the lockdown, certain groups will still be vulnerable to the virus, even with high vaccination rates, experts and officials have warned. University of Canberra Assistant Professor of Public Health Indira Samarawickrema said it was important to protect these groups. “There would be some risk because it is the populations that are not as strong as young people and therefore they would generally be susceptible to disease,” she said. “Once again, we need to protect these vulnerable groups, especially in geriatric care, because if a person gets the disease, it can spread very quickly.” MORE COVID-19 NEWS: Dr Samarawickrema said it was important for society to maintain a range of public health measures to curb the spread of the virus. “We still need to continue the good things the Canberrans have done like maintaining social distance and wearing masks,” she said. “And we also need to make sure we maintain the same safety precaution so that hospital admissions do not increase because frontline health workers have done such an amazing job.” Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith reiterated the sentiments. “As we come out of the lockdown, it is still really important to continue to follow the health advice and restrictions that apply across the ACT,” she said. “We must continue to work together to reduce the spread of COVID-19, which we know disproportionately affects the most vulnerable people in our society.” 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 you can continue to access our trusted content:


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