A Canberra Hospital ICU nurse was confirmed this morning as a positive case of COVID-19.
Acting ACT Chief Health Officer Dr Vanessa Johnston told a press conference this afternoon that the individual was tested after developing “fairly mild” systems.
“Although the case is under investigation, our initial interviews indicate that it is likely that this individual was exposed to COVID-19 through a close household contact who had recently returned from overseas,” she said.
“The Communicable Disease Control section of ACT Health is currently completing thorough contact tracing in collaboration with Canberra Health Services.”
It is due to those unique circumstances that this is not believed to be the ACT’s first confirmed instance of community transmission.
The case was confirmed after ACT Health’s reporting deadline today, so the number will be officially recorded in tomorrow’s figures.
ACT Health has been testing healthcare workers on the basis of symptoms alone for some time as part of their surveillance to detect community transmission.
ACT Minister for Health Rachel Stephen-Smith also announced today that new heat map data that will indicate the geographic spread of confirmed COVID-19 cases across the ACT will be available to the public on their dedicated website some time after 3pm this afternoon.
There has been one new case of COVID-19 recorded in the Territory overnight, bringing the ACT’s total of COVID-19 cases to 100.
The new confirmed case is a male in his 50s who acquired the disease overseas.
There have been seven more recoveries overnight, bringing to total number of recoveries to 54, all of whom have been released from self-isolation. This is more than half of all confirmed COVID-19 cases in the ACT.
There are currently three COVID-19 patients in Canberra hospitals, with two in ICU. The remainder are isolating at home with ACT Health support.
There is still one case under investigation and we are awaiting further test results before we can determine their status. The ACT has recorded two deaths.
There have been over 5,800 negative tests in ACT to date.
Dr Johnston thanked Canberrans for their efforts in helping flatten the curve and reminded them that we need to continue this effort to protect vulnerable people.
“As I have said all this week, please stay home this Easter long weekend. Do not travel to the coast or interstate or gather in large groups with family and friends,” Dr Johnston said.
“If you do need to go out for essential reasons, then complying with the rules on physical distancing and practicing good hand and respiratory hygiene are the most important tools in slowing the spread of COVID-19.
“I also encourage Canberrans to find new ways to connect with their loved ones over this Easter period. People all around the world are using technology to stay socially connected during this pandemic and this can be a great way to keep in touch with your family and friends when you can’t physically visit.”
- The ACT Government has established a new dedicated COVID-19 website for all information about the health and economic response to the pandemic in the ACT.
- The ACT Government has also established a new helpline to assist Canberrans through the challenges of COVID-19. The helpline will operate on 02 6207 7244 between 8am and 8pm daily.
- People who are concerned and want further information on the virus, can also call the Australian Government’s Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080. The line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.