Canberra records 18 new Covid cases on Thursday, Andrew Barr says | The Canberra Times

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The ACT recorded 18 new cases of COVID-19 up to 8pm Thursday. Chief Minister Andrew Barr said only three of the 18 were already in quarantine.

Of the newly infected, 13 were close contacts of previously infected people while five cases are still under investigation.

“The more troubling statistic is only three of those 18 were in quarantine for their full infectious period. Fifteen were in the community unknowingly for part of their infectious period,” he said.

He also announced the extra doses Canberra was receiving in an Australia-Singapore “swap” would go to Year 12 students. “All teachers, educators and school-based staff who have direct contact with students will also have access to priority vaccination through ACT government clinics,” he said. Mr Barr urged people to get tested before symptoms developed – people can be infected without knowing it. “We will get more cases,” he said. “For the rest of time, we will get more cases.”

The number of tests rose by 10 per cent over the previous day – up to 2754 on Thursday. But he said testing levels needed to be higher. “We would still like to see people come forward for testing, and come forward quickly if you have any symptoms. One of the reasons that people are infectious in the community for a period … [is] we are starting to see people waiting when they develop symptoms to come forward to get tested. Please come forward immediately,” he said. Of the current cases, 10 are in hospital and one was on a ventilator.

Three were in intensive care. “Our thoughts and our love are with the families of the patients in hospital, and particularly in intensive care,” Mr Barr said. READ MORE: Year 12 students, school staff to get COVID-19 vaccination priority Mr Barr said there had been a massive compliance effort in the past 24 hours. “By and large compliance is good, but there are a few issues that are emerging as consistent themes. Some staff not wearing masks – still. Or not wearing them properly. Having them under your chin is not wearing it properly. It is useless having it there. If you are at work, you have to have your mask on and have it on properly.” Mr Barr urged people to wear their masks properly. He said that wearing the mask only over your mouth was not effective in preventing transmission. “I can’t understand how people don’t get the point of the mask. It’s just useless under the chin. You look like a bit of a dork with your mask under the chin.”

He said there was a concern about some staff not checking into their own workplace. He also reminded people who were buying things through click and collect that they needed to check in when they collected their goods.

ACT chief health officer Kerryn Coleman said two sites were being added as sites of transmission: Bidfood Canberra in Fyshwick and KFC in Dickson. These were sites with multiple cases linked to them, and she urged anyone who had been to the locations at the dates and times listed to immediately get tested and follow directions.

Four cases – two in the ACT, and two in NSW – are linked to Bidfood and three are linked to the Dickson KFC. There are now 14 public sites of transmission.

She said two more cases were also linked to Ainslie Village. They are believed to be residents.

Mr Barr said the Commonwealth’s new deal to get another four million Pfizer doses would mean a speedier vaccination schedule in the ACT. He reckoned it meant another 65,000 to 68,000 doses for the ACT which would amount to a week to a week-and-a-half of supply.

More than two thirds of the population aged 16 and over had now had at least one jab. The 70 per cent threshold was expected to be crossed this weekend.

Earlier, Mr Barr said young Canberrans were now the most vulnerable people as the COVID-19 outbreak continued in the ACT. “This virus is going and circulating amongst the unvaccinated predominantly.

The best vaccine you can get is the one you can get today,” Mr Barr said.

Mr Barr encouraged Canberrans to think about their vaccination status when they were planning to gather with others outdoors, which was permitted under updated restrictions from 5pm Thursday.

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