ACT records 1,125 new cases of COVID-19 in first daily count to include both PCR and RAT results

In the first combined release of COVID-19 case numbers from PCR and rapid antigen testing, the ACT recorded 1,125 new daily infections.

ACT Health said 885 of the positive results came from PCR tests in the 24 hours to 8 p.m. yesterday; 240 were from rapid antigen tests (RAT) during the same period.

There were also 1,178 additional positive RAT results recorded between January 8 and January 12.

Earlier this week, the ACT government launched an online form so people can register their positive RAT results.

Acting Health Minister Chris Steel said this RAT data would help the government “get a clearer picture of community spread”.

There are currently 27 patients in ACT hospitals with COVID-19, including three in intensive care and requiring ventilation.

More than 28 per cent of Canberrans over the age of 18 have received their COVID-19 booster and 98.6 per cent of the territory’s population over the age of 12 have received two doses of a vaccine.

More than 15% of children in Canberra aged 5-11 have received their first dose of the vaccine.

There are currently 4,382 active cases of COVID-19 in the ACT.

Modeling suggests Omicron outbreak is peaking: Barr

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said modeling suggests the ACT’s Omicron outbreak is peaking.(ABC News: Ian Cutmore)

Modeling from eight different data sources suggests ACT is likely reaching the peak of its Omicron outbreak, Chief Minister Andrew Barr said.

Mr Barr said while Canberra was seeing a high number of daily virus cases, modeling suggested the territory was near the peak of the Omicron variant.

“It reflects domestic experience, and it reflects international experience. So at this point I’m not ready to call it out categorically yet, I want data from another week, but the indications are positive. “

Mr Barr said the steady number of cases recorded in the ACT over the past few days was encouraging.

“We certainly haven’t seen an exponential increase in cases over the last seven days, we haven’t seen the kind of impact on our hospital system that had been seen in New South Wales and Victoria.” , did he declare.

“We are the most vaccinated city in the world, and we are now the most strengthened city in Australia, and we are going to have the highest vaccination coverage of children in Australia, and possibly in the world as well.

RATs will likely be the new normal in Canberra

Generic photo of rapid antigen test for COVID
Chief Minister Andrew Barr says he expects rapid antigen testing to become a bigger part of the ACT’s COVID-19 response, likely overtaking PCR testing.(PA: Lukas Coch)

Over one million rapid antigen tests will arrive in ACT over the next three weeks to support the government’s response to COVID-19.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the tests were to be used between ACT Health staff and the wider community.

“[It] will be a balance between our critical healthcare needs – so we need to make sure our staff have access to testing so we can continue to deliver the services – and then we have the ability to use rapid antigen testing as well in testing centers,” he said. .

Mr Barr said he expected RATs to be increasingly used in the government’s health response to the pandemic.

“So we’re getting to the point where the balance of testing will shift from PCR to rapid antigen,” he said.

“PCR testing will still happen – it’s still needed for some cohorts – but rather than being 95% PCR testing, 5% rapid antigen testing, it will change week to week, day to day, and I think in the end there will be faster antigen tests than PCR tests.”

Mr Barr called on Canberrans to be patient with each other – and ACT Health staff – as daily positive cases remain high, reminding everyone that it was a difficult time for most.

“It’s a trying time for everyone, so let’s take a deep breath, relax, we’ll be fine. We’ll work our way through this.”

Kambah site temporarily switches to rapid antigen testing

Three of ACT’s five walk-in clinics remain closed today due to a shortage of supplies needed to perform PCR tests.

Centers in Kambah, Gold Creek and Holt will likely remain closed for PCR testing until Monday, while sites in Garran and Mitchell remain open.

However, rapid antigen tests were made available from 10 a.m. Friday at the Kambah site for household contacts, those with symptoms of the virus and those in the high or moderate risk categories.

man dressed in a suit
Mr Steel says the RAT provision will “hopefully provide a new option to get tested and speed up testing”.(ABC News: Tamara Penniket)

Mr Steel announced the temporary change yesterday, saying it would allow pathology labs to catch up with demand.

“We are experiencing an unprecedented number of cases here in the ACT,” he said.

“This has put a strain on our pathology and our partners at Capital Pathology, and we continue to work with them to ensure they have all the support they need.

Mr Barr said the trial of the RATs at the Kambah site got off to a rocky start, with some cars diverted before they received their tests at home.

“I understand the issues were related to traffic, not the availability of test kits which were and will continue to be distributed from the site,” he said.

Mr Barr said the confusion arose when some cars were asked to return later because they could cause traffic delays, not because of a lack of testing supplies at the facility.

“I can’t handle every car out of Kambah, these are things that happen. There will be delays, not everything will work perfectly.”

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