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Canberra
Saturday, September 19, 2020
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COVID update: Hospital visitor restrictions reintroduced

The ACT Government has reintroduced visitor restrictions at health care facilities with just one visitor allowed per patient per day, in most cases.

There are exemptions for young people, children and babies who can always have a parent or guardian present plus one visitor per day, while pregnant women can have two visitors if it has been pre-arranged.

ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said hospitals were able to work through requests for additional guests on compassionate grounds on a case-by-case basis.

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“Please avoid bringing children to health facilities if you can,” she said.

“I would encourage Canberrans to be kind to staff and to be patient with these restrictions.

“Restrictions are in place to protect staff and their families, but also to protect patients who are some of the most vulnerable in our community – should they get COVID – we know that an outbreak in a health facility can be particularly bad.

“If you are sick, do not visit someone in a health facility.”

Ms Stephen-Smith said the ACT Government was monitoring outbreaks in Victoria and NSW including the Crossroads pub in Casula and encouraged Canberrans to keep up good hygiene practices and social distancing.

“It is critical that everybody in the ACT take this very seriously,” she said.

Around 800 people have applied for exemption requests to enter the ACT from Victoria.

“All but 70 of those requests have been processed,” Ms Stephen-Smith said.

“There are just a few more complicated ones to work through.”

Ms Stephen-Smith said there were around 400 people currently self-isolating in Canberra, either because they had returned from Victoria or because of a close contact with a known case.

“I would like to thank those in quarantine; we know that it’s not easy.

“It’s been great to hear from ACT Policing that there has been 100% compliance with quarantine requirements on their spot checks.”

Ms Stephen-Smith said those in quarantine had the support of the Health Protection Team from ACT Health who were well trained in conducting structured conversations, to check on their physical and mental health.

“The Health Protection Team is doing an amazing job,” she said.

There were no new cases in the ACT in the last 24 hours, five known active cases and more than 37,000 negative test results. This is the third consecutive day that no new cases have been recorded in the ACT since five cases were recorded in three days last week, 8-10 July.

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