Another death of COVID-19 has been recorded in ACT, the seventh since the latest outbreak began.
That comes as 46 new locally acquired cases were reported in ACT on Thursday, the day before Canberra comes out of the lockdown.
Health authorities have confirmed that a man in his 80s died at an elderly care facility in northern Canberra, where he received treatment at the end of his life.
There have now been six COVID-19 deaths associated with the Calvary Haydon Retirement Community.
Of the new cases, 30 were related to known cases, and 22 of them were household contacts.
About 18 of the 46 new cases were quarantined throughout their period of infection, while 16 were assessed as a risk of transmission to others.
The number of patients at Canberra hospitals with COVID-19 is now 16, of which six on intensive care and five on a ventilator.
Since the start of Canberra’s lockdown, there have been 1359 cases, of which 119 were in hospital and 24 in intensive care.
ACT Prime Minister Andrew Barr said the end of the Canberra lockdown on Friday did not mean COVID-19 in the area was over.
“Therefore, the first step out of the lockdown will be a gentle and purposeful step forward,” Barr said.
‘Lockdown has not been easy, but it has kept case numbers significantly lower than it otherwise would have been.
“Tomorrow is not the end of the pandemic, the virus will continue to spread in society, but tomorrow it is a step forward.”
The territory’s head of health, Dr. Kerry Coleman said it is not known how high the number of cases will increase after restrictions ease and move.
Intensive capacity could be scaled up if necessary, with the ACT government investing in technology to minimize infection rates in hospitals.
Recent vaccine figures have shown that 98.8 percent of eligible residents over the age of 12 have received a first dose, and 74.7 percent have been fully vaccinated.
“The statistic that matters, and the one we’re focusing on in the coming weeks, is the percentage that is fully vaccinated,” Barr said.
“We want to see our world-leading first dose rate translated into a world-leading fully vaccinated rate.”
A decision would probably soon be made on what cross-border travel would be possible with NSW when the restrictions on lockdown are light.
The end of the lockdown will also provide an easy journey between ACT and Victoria.
Victoria’s Deputy Prime Minister James Merlino said the ACT would be reclassified from a red travel zone to an orange travel zone.
This means that travelers from ACT will be able to enter Victoria with one exception, but must isolate and obtain a COVID test within 72 hours of arrival and return a negative result.