The ACT has registered 28 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases and one additional death.
A 70-year-old woman who was receiving end-of-life care at Calvary Haydon Elderly Care Center has died overnight.
“This brings the number of lives lost to COVID-19 from this outbreak to six,” said Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith.
“On behalf of the government and the ACT community, I offer my deepest condolences and love to this person’s family and friends – this is a very difficult time.”
Of the 28 cases announced today, five were contagious in the community; 11 people were in quarantine throughout their contagious period.
19 cases are linked and nine are still under preliminary investigation.
There are currently 16 people hospitalized with the virus, including seven people in intensive care and four requiring ventilation.
Baby in special care nursery tests positive for COVID-19
A baby in the special care nursery at Centenary Hospital for Women and Children was among those who tested positive for COVID-19.
Ms Stephen-Smith said the baby had been in the hospital for “some time” and became symptomatic overnight.
She said all family members are being tested and the hospital is making efforts to contact other families recently released from the nursery.
She added that the COVID exposure team was conducting a risk assessment this morning, but people should feel safe going to Canberra hospital if needed.
“The Canberrans can… feel safe going to hospital again if they need this level of care,” Ms. Stephen-Smith said.
“And again, this is something that our Canberra Hospital and Canberra Health Services [staff] have done this several times now, as we have seen positive cases of COVID-19 identified in hospitals. “
Canberra Health Services interim CEO Dave Peffer said that while there was no “known source of transmission,” the entire special care nursery had not been affected.
“The special care nursery is one of the few places in the hospital where we have made special arrangements for visits,” he said.
“The path [it] is set up at the moment is in a few parts, and so it didn’t impact the whole nursery, pleasantly. This impacted part of it, and that part of it, we have now obviously stopped visiting. “
The baby has been transferred to the pediatric medicine ward, which is one of the dedicated COVID departments at Canberra Hospital.
Ms. Stephen-Smith stressed the importance of getting vaccinated for those who can.
ACT reaches 95% of the first dose of vaccination
Ms. Stephen-Smith also confirmed today that 95% of Canberrans aged 12 and over have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
66% of ACT residents are now fully vaccinated, ACT is expected to reach 70% vaccination coverage this week.
Ms. Stephen-Smith described achieving this milestone as an “exceptional result for our community”.
The disabled sector “disrespects” by excluding the compulsory vaccination plan
Following yesterday’s announcement that vaccines would be made compulsory for all older social workers, some employees in the disability sector felt “disrespected”.
QuestCare’s director of business development Bill Aldcroft said excluding workers with disabilities from this mandate sends the message that they are not as valuable as other members of the healthcare community.
“It reduced the importance of their work by not including them with other frontline workers,” he said.
Mr Aldcroft said the inclusion of disability support workers as part of the proposed vaccine mandate “would simply put us in line with the rest of the healthcare community in Australia”.
Today, Ms Stephen-Smith said the ACT government was exploring options to make vaccines mandatory for workers with disabilities, but believed it was a Commonwealth responsibility.
She said the Commonwealth should screen workers with disabilities under the national disability insurance scheme to make sure they are fully immunized.
“” ACT has maintained … that the Commonwealth should consider using its own regulatory power through the National Disability Insurance Scheme …
The territory will soon enter its eighth week of containment, which is to be lifted on October 15.
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