ACT COVID update 15 Sept

13 new cases
8 linked (all close household contacts)
5 in quarantine throughout
8 infectious in the community

7 in hospital
1 in ICU, ventilated

3311 tests conducted

4000+ vax doses delivered
61% 1st
39% 2nd

Today we pass 75% of 12+ pop with 1 dose
Barr: "Soon we will have administered first doses to everyone who wants one"

+50% 12+ population have now received 2 doses
(~185k Canberrans)

From Monday, ACT vax hubs will start taking bookings for 12-15yos. Also available thru GPs (Pfizer), and eventually pharmacies (Moderna)
Barr: "Vaccination is the main pathway to move safely beyond our current situation."

When Oz passes 70% threshold in mid-late Oct, 80% in early-mid Nov, "the ACT's vaccination program will put our city in a very strong position to gradually reopen."
Barr: "We will support the work that is being undertaken locally and nationally to achieve a covid-normal life as soon as is possible" inc National Cabinet work this Friday focusing on health system capacity locally, regionally and nationally.
Barr: While covid continues to circulate in our community, across the border, and we continue vax program "restrictions need to remain in place. What we are looking to do, though, is to get as many people back to work as soon as we can."
Barr says gov's aware of mental health impact of that, will be "supporting mental health measures, and prioritising as restrictions ease, safe outdoor activity."
Barr says, given ACT's high vax levels, expected speed of getting from 70-80%, "we do not anticipate needing proof of vaccination to access public or private services in the ACT."
Barr: "We will move through phases of the National Plan to transition Australia's national COVID-19 response. movement through each phase is triggered when the average vaccination rates across the nation as well as in the ACT have reached the required thresholds."
(ie, mid-late Oct and early-mid Nov ... This opening address feels a bit ~this IS the plan, Canberra~)
Barr: "When looking to change our public health restrictions" ACT will consider: local & national vax rates, community transmission esp infectious in community, testing rates/turnaround times, tracing/quarantine capacity, compliance, REF, health system capacity
Barr expects restrictions to "gradually change" thru these vaccination phases in Oct, Nov, with the caveat it's all subject to change

Changes will be like last year, stuff like: home visitation numbers, gathering sizes (esp outdoors), density limits (1/4,then 1/2m2), patron caps
Like last year, higher risk businesses (no specifics mentioned) and larger events/gatherings are likely to be restricted for longer, Barr says.

WFH when you can will be around for a bit

"There will be a phased return to face to face learning" when "safe to do so."
Barr: "Right now though, we need to give more than 100k Canberrans the opportunity to get vaccinated in the next four weeks as we suppress our current outbreak."
Barr says ACT and Cwealth Government have agreed on expanded biz support grants: if you've already applied, you don't have to reapply, increased amounts automatically granted. On 1 Oct there *might* be more news about more to come, at the two-week checkpoint for extended lockdown
Tomorrow, ACT Government will provide details of its community sector support plans.
Barr: "This is one of the toughest moments in our city's history." "There will be better times ahead for Canberra. Our vaccination milestones are in sight. Our objective is to keep our community safe & work towards a safe & happy Christmas and summer holiday period for everyone."
Dep CHO Johnston

13 new
541 total
298 recovered (+22)
243 active

Of 13
8 linked (all household)
5 early investigation
5 in quarantine
8 infectious in cmnty

7 in hospital
Aged 56-70s
1 ICU, ventilated
2 fully vaxxed (not ICU patient)
1 one dose
3 unvaxxed
1 vax status unknown
ACT Magistrate's Court is listed as a casual contact site today (10 Sept). Affected areas:
Main foyer
Bail office
Courtroom 2
Foyer outside Courtrooms 1 & 2

Case unknowingly infectious while appearing at court on 10 Sept, Dep CHO says. Details on website soon.
No new transmission sites, or new links to existing sites/clusters.
Dep CHO: Please don't wait to be tested. Still seeing people infectious in the community, inc some attending essential work

Still 50+ cases with unknown sources

"This means there are cases of COVID-19 in the community that we are not aware of."
Dep CHO: "If we were to relax our restrictions now, we risk this outbreak rapidly escalating at a time when not enough of us are vaccinated. And therefore we would see a proportion of cases with severe outcomes, with hospitalisation, ICU admissions, and even death."
Dep CHO acknowledges "the sentiment in the community and the disappointment after yesterday's announcement. But if we continue to do the right thing now, if we stay the course, we'll be in a much stronger position to come out of the lockdown in the weeks to come."
Q On Nat v ACT thresholds: ACT so far ahead. Will ACT be held in lockdown til ACT reaches 70/80%?

Barr: No. "We have a lockdown that continues until the 15th of October, and we will advise the situation beyond there"

Barr shuts down Tom Connell who isn't allowed to follow-up.
Q NSW has been more explicit about things happening at 70%, why not us?
Barr says NSW is making "a guess, heavily caveated" about what "they hope to be able to do at 70%".
(There's a lot of Q&A here. It boils down to the Chief Minister saying what he said yesterday, effectively. That things will happen according to the situation at the time. On giving certainty, he says gov will "provide advance notice" eg for biz. There's a checkpoint in 2 weeks.)
Q Aged care staff vax mandate comes into effect end of the week, how many staff won't be able to show up to work?

Barr says he doesn't have the latest Cwealth figures on first doses, last he heard was above 94%.

"I think we're talking about dozens now, rather than hundreds".
Q What is the logic of waiting for the nation to get to 70% on internal ACT restrictions?
Barr: "Because we are an island jurisdiction within NSW without the capacity to have hard borders, so we also need the population coming into this city to be vaccinated as well."
On business support and whether its a cumbersome system, Barr says: "No it's not my preferred model, the better model was JobKeeper. But that argument was lost. ... It is what it is and we are working to process those payments as quickly as we can."
Barr's qn for NSW Premier: "What happens at 80%? Is the vaccine passport just about the transition from 70-80, or it it proposed to be in place for a longer period, and if so how long? For the rest of the pandemic? Years? Or is it to be a permanent feature of Australian society."
>>Barr: "Are we going to extend the vaccination passport to other infectious diseases" like flu, measles, whooping cough, polio? "Is this a new part of Australia life? These are questions that need answers."
>>Barr: "The other questions that clearly follow is, who is enforcing this? The NSW Premier has not ruled out hefty fines for businesses that inadvertently serve an unvaccinated customer. Think about that for a moment." >>
>>Barr: "Do we want our police forces going around checking on individual businesses and individual transactions, as to whether a business has served an unvaccinated customer? Is that the sort of Australia we want to live in?" >>
Barr: "Is that a permanent feature of our future, or is it just about a transition between 70 & 80-%." If the latter, "you could mount an argument that is proportional". In ACT that could be just 5 days "so why would we put in place such a complex set of arrangements for 5 days?"
Barr says he's "explicitly asked the NSW Premier in National Cabinet on 3 occasions, should we be planning for patients from NSW needing to be cared for in our health system, and have been assured that no we don't need to, by the Premier." ...but >cont>
Barr: "Then subsequently, at health officials level ... we are told otherwise. So we are planning for the need to look after NSW (covid) patients within the ACT" as well as general regional NSW patients as a matter of course. They're 25% of all ACT system presentations, Barr says
Q to Dep CHO on school closure justification
Johnston: "the announcements yesterday ... were preliminary announcements. There certainly will be more to say in coming weeks around the plan. It's absolutely true that the evidence suggests severity in children is reduced"... but
...but we've also seen outbreaks in primary school/early childhood learning here in ACT.

Dep CHO: "The work that's going into the planning and reopening is taking into account all those things" inc impact on learning, social/emotional wellbeing, impact of covid circulating.
(Gotta say, whatever you think of the ACT's approach on vaccine passports and vaccine mandates, it is... very on brand for the ACT, as a government and as a jurisdiction. Not unexpected. But wondering if that's where some of the different-wavelengths responses are coming from...)
And that's it for today.

The sun is shining, Canberra. Get outside and soak some up for me if you can, would ya? I'll chat to you at 3:30.


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More from @AnnaVidot

14 Sep
ACT COVID update 14 Sept

22 new cases
14 linked
8 under investigation
2 in quarantine throughout
13 infectious in the community

10 in hospital
2 in ICU
1 ventilated

3721 tests conducted
BREAKING: ACT lockdown will CONTINUE for another 4 weeks, to Fri 15 October
There will be some small changes to lockdown rules to come this weekend (click&collect and covid-safe delivery, outdoor stuff inc tennis & golf, private real estate inspections)

Barr says priority in next four weeks is to vaccinate as many people as possible
Read 49 tweets
13 Sep
ACT COVID update 13 Sept

13 new cases
7 linked
6 under investigation
2 in quarantine throughout
10 infectious in the community

9 in hospital
3 in ICU
1 ventilated

2402 tests conducted
This reflects lower trend on weekends, officials want that up to ~3500 today.
Barr has escalated his 'get tested' message today.

Says, if you live with someone who has symptoms, the whole household should come forward for testing. If you work with someone who has symptoms, you should come forward for testing too.
Still businesses not complying with health directions.

Barr: "We are now moving beyond warnings. Repeat offenders will have to be closed."

"We are beyond the point of issuing warnings"
Read 28 tweets
12 Sep
ACT COVID update 12 Sept

15 new cases
8 linked
5 in quarantine throughout
9 infectious in the community

1 new case "is a detainee" who tested positive yesterday, Barr says

10 in hospital
3 in ICU
1 ventilated

2406 tests conducted
They'd like this number to be 3000+/day.

44k doses delivered in the past week

95% of 50+ population = 1 dose
75% of 50+ population = 2 doses

29% of 35-39yos = 2 doses
15% of 20-24yos = 2 doses

20-39 is Canberra's biggest age demo

Barr: "It will take some weeks" to get them all fully vaxxed.
CHO says AMC case was detected thru routine testing on admission. They've been in isolation since

All contacts at AMC, police/watch house staff have been identified "and are receiving our ongoing support"

There's a weekly AMC vax clinic

Of detainees:
74% = 1 dose
54% = 2 doses
Read 4 tweets
11 Sep
ACT COVID update 11 Sept

15 new cases
14 linked
1 under investigation
9 in quarantine throughout
6 infectious in the community

16 in hospital
3 in ICU
1 ventilated

3202 tests conducted

19.5k first dose appointments were brought forward at AIS mass vax hub thanks to the 30k new doses available

(There are still early appointments available! Try your luck on MyDHR, it's worth a shot har har etc)
Barr is advised that majority of ACT Pfizer doses from UK swap will be directed to GPs, could be many as 60k new appointments

10m Moderna doses arriving in coming months, first shipment later this week. ACT population share would be ~167k doses, to be available thru pharmacists
Read 6 tweets
2 Sep
ACT COVID update 2 Sept

12 new cases
6 linked
6 under investigation
4 in quarantine throughout
8 infectious in community

13 in hospital
4 in ICU
2 ventilated (Previously reported woman in her 40s, and now also an unvaccinated man in his 20s w no prior conditions)
2500 tests conducted in #Canberra yesterday

Barr: "This is just not high enough. The virus is out in our community. It is critical, if you have symptoms, to get tested as soon as possible."

68% 1 dose
44.5% 2 doses
...for 16yo+ population

In "an Australian first", Canberra residents aged 75-79 is the first cohort in Australia to pass 80% fully vaccinated.

16,210 16-29yos made appointments yesterday to get vaxxed

Best vaccine is one you can get now
Read 21 tweets
1 Sep
ACT COVID update 1 Sept

23 new cases
14 linked (mostly household)
9 under investigation
11 in quarantine throughout
11 at least partly infectious in community

13 in hospital
4 in ICU
None fully vaccinated

3763 tests conducted

Barr: "Please get tested if you have any symptoms"
Barr address the "What is non-organised recreation?" question.

Says it is NOT organised boot camps, sport comps, team training, golf, tennis, "those sorts of organised sporting activities"
Why the increase to 5?

Barr says it's so singles and couples can have some interaction. Confirms can be from 5 different households. But must be done outside, wearing masks, max 2 hours. And outside of that, stay as far away from other people as possible, Barr says.
Read 28 tweets

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