Canberrans urged to get tested as 17 new cases recorded

Courtney GouldNCA NewsWire
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Camera IconNot Supplied Credit: News Corp Australia

Canberrans have been urged to get tested for Covid-19 after the territory recorded another 17 new locally acquired Covid-19 cases.

The number of daily tests across the ACT has dropped, down to 1988 on Wednesday.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr called out Canberrans for waiting sometimes days at a time to get tested.

“Testing numbers are a little low. If you have any symptoms, please come forward for testing,” he said.

“Please do so straight away. We have too many people waiting days and days with symptoms before coming forward to get tested.”

Camera IconTesting numbers dropped under 2000 in Canberra on Tuesday. NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage Credit: News Corp Australia

Only one of the new cases was in isolation for the entirety of their infectious period and at least 11 cases spent some time in the community while contagious. The remaining cases have yet to be interviewed.

Nine cases have been linked to existing cases or transmission sites while the rest remain under investigation.

There are now 12 people in hospital with Covid-19, with two patients in the intensive care unit, both requiring ventilation. Neither are fully vaccinated.

From Wednesday, members of the Australian Defence Force have joined ACT Police at border checkpoints to assist with traffic control management.

A little more than 81 per cent of the eligible ACT population have now received at least one dose of the Covid-19 jab.

Mr Barr said the territory was on track to exceed 95 per cent of the population who were partially vaccinated but those figures had not shifted his resolve to keep Canberra in lockdown until October 15.

“I want to give everyone the opportunity to get vaccinated and I am confident Canberrans will take up that opportunity,” he said.

“People who choose not to get vaccinated for reasons other than medical conditions which prevent them from being vaccinated are taking a massive risk.

“I think there does come a point at which we can say everyone who wants to get vaccinated has been given the opportunity. That moment is coming but it is not before the 15th of October.”

Camera IconMr Barr called out those who did not get tested as soon as they experienced symptoms. NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage Credit: News Corp Australia

Canberrans have also been chided for failing to comply with mask wearing requirements.

Mr Barr said the compliance teams would no longer be giving businesses the courtesy of warnings.

“Where compliance is not good is in the one consistent order that we have been repeating nearly every day now for the duration of this lockdown — that is mask-wearing among employees and business sites,” Mr Barr said.

“Our compliance teams will continue that focus, continue to remind businesses - those who have already been reminded will not be shown the courtesy of further reminders at this point.”

On Tuesday, ACT chief health officer Kerryn Coleman conceded it was unlikely the capital could return to Covid-zero.

Asked if he backed Dr Coleman’s call, Mr Barr said she was “best placed” to provide epidemiological advice.

Originally published as Canberrans urged to get tested as 17 new cases recorded

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