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ACT registers nine new cases of COVID-19 as territory becomes most vaccinated jurisdiction in Australia

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ACT has registered nine new locally acquired COVID-19 cases as the territory has become Australia’s most vaccinated jurisdiction.

There are 20 people hospitalized with the virus, including 11 in intensive care and four requiring ventilation.

There are now 390 active cases in ACT.

Over 87% of Canberrans aged 12 and over are now fully vaccinated.

While the number of cases today is the lowest ACT has seen in more than a month, the number of tests is also on the decline.

Only 991 tests were done on Saturday, and ACT Health used social media to again remind Canberrans to get tested for even the mildest symptoms.

ACT leads Australia on vaccinations, analysis finds

ACT is now Australia’s most vaccinated jurisdiction, edging New South Wales over the weekend.

More than 70% of all Canberrans are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to ABC analysis.

This rate is much lower than the figures used by governments because it affects the entire population, including children who are not yet eligible for a vaccine.

The 70 percent figure also uses the latest population estimate, while most authorities still rely on data as old as 16 months.

Although ACT’s vaccination rate is high by Australian standards, it is still far from being the world leader.

Portugal, Spain, Singapore and Denmark, for example, have significantly higher vaccination rates.

Canberra hospitals prepare for peak in COVID-19 cases

Authorities expect the number of cases – and hospitalizations – to increase in the coming weeks as restrictions relax further on Friday and ACT enters the next phase of its exit from lockdown.

But those handling ACT’s frontline response insist ACT is prepared to deal with a possible spike in cases.

Dr Ian Marr says ACT’s high vaccination rate means the capital is well placed to deal with an increase in COVID-19 cases. (ABC News: Mark Moore)

Infectious disease specialist Dr Ian Marr said the capital’s high vaccination rate would be the crucial difference between what happened here when restrictions were relaxed, compared to what was seen in other places in the world.

“Unfortunately, in those early stages, there was no vaccination, so what you see in this context is a greater proportion of people who come to the hospital and who fall very badly,” he said. declared.

“Having the vaccination on board we will see more cases, but I don’t think we will necessarily see everyone arriving at the hospital and certainly not in intensive care.

“So there will be some increase, we expect that, we know that, but COVID services are now prepared for it.”

Dr Marr said the Canberra hospital has “surge capacity” when needed.

“Staffing… and putting systems in place and looking at all the different areas that need to increase at these times, and designing them now, is what is being done,” he said.

Nurse wearing a mask.
Vanessa Hoban says nurses at Canberra hospital are prepared to deal with an increase in COVID-19 admissions. (ABC News: Mark Moore)

Vanessa Hoban, a clinical nurse coordinator at Canberra Hospital, agreed that staff and facilities would be able to accommodate an influx of COVID-19 patients.

“I don’t feel like we would have a breaking point,” she said.

“We also have Calvary Hospital and we can re-evaluate the other services we offer to use that space if we have to. But I really think we won’t have to.

Ms Hoban said morale was still high among nurses on COVID-19 wards.

“Nurses are known to have a nasty sense of humor and we used that humor last year as well as this year,” she said.

“This is our second family so we’ve all worked together for a long time and they’re just a great team.”

Commonwealth urged to help end backlog of inpatients

As hospitals in Canberra brace for an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases, the ACT government says the Commonwealth could do more to ease pressure on the healthcare system by helping to free up beds occupied by patients who do not need to be hospitalized.

Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said this week during a hearing on budget estimates that around 60 patients in hospitals in the capital were awaiting placement for the disabled or the elderly.

“Policy, responsibility and deployment are a responsibility of the Commonwealth and care of the elderly is a responsibility of the Commonwealth,” she said.

“So working with us to help offload some of these long-stay patients is really essential.”

A hospital seen from across a busy road.
Authorities are bracing for an expected increase in COVID-19-related hospitalizations in the coming months. (ABC News: Ian Cutmore)

Ms Stephen-Smith also told the hearing that the territory struggles with a lower number of general practitioners per 100,000 population than other jurisdictions.

“Funding is simply not enough to support the most complex chronic disease patients, which means they end up with unnecessary hospitalization, which is a bad outcome for them and a bad outcome for the system. hospitable, ”she said.

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