Page 37 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 8 February 2022

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in March 2020. There are 2,406 active cases, with 57 COVID patients admitted to hospital, two of which are in intensive care, with one requiring ventilation. Sadly, there have been 29 deaths since the start of the pandemic. The ACT government expresses its sincere condolences to the families and loved ones of those who have died with COVID-19.

As at 9 am on 7 February, there were 1,097 close contacts in quarantine in the ACT being supported by ACT Health. We also recognise that many people will be isolating on any given day as a result of a high-risk exposure or awaiting a PCR test result.

As a result of the increase in community transmission and our high vaccination coverage, the ACT’s public health response has shifted, in line with other jurisdictions, to prevent high-impact outbreaks and protect vulnerable population cohorts. A range of test, trace, isolate and quarantine measures, as well as public health social measures, have been revised as we continue to transition to living with COVID.

With effect from 11.59 pm on 15 December 2021, the ACT government revised domestic and international travel restrictions. With the exception of close contacts of interstate cases, all restrictions on interstate travel to the ACT were lifted. Individuals returning to the ACT were no longer required to fill out a declaration or exemption form, and all high-risk geographical areas of concern were removed.

From 11.59 pm on 5 January 2022, changes were introduced to the management of confirmed cases, contacts and exposures in the ACT, based on advice from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee. These changes align the ACT with most jurisdictions in Australia to have a consistent national approach. These changes have enabled ACT Health to contact people at highest risk of contracting COVID-19 and to focus on preventing outbreaks in high-risk settings as the number of confirmed cases continues to sit in the hundreds per day.

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 are required to isolate for at least seven days from the date their COVID-19 test was conducted, regardless of their vaccination status, until they are cleared to leave isolation by ACT Health. Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 is required to inform their household contacts of their positive result and should notify any workplace and social contacts they have interacted with in the two days before the onset of symptoms or their positive test result that they are at risk of contracting COVID-19.

Contacts of a confirmed case of COVID-19 are now directed to self-assess their risk of exposure, based on ACT Health’s updated exposure guidance for household contacts and individuals who have had high, moderate or low-risk exposure to a case. A household contact of a confirmed case is at high risk of contracting COVID-19 and is therefore required to undergo a PCR test as soon as possible and quarantine for seven days from the date of the positive test result of the first case in the household, complete the ACT Health online declaration form and undergo a rapid antigen or PCR test on or after day 6.

A high-risk exposure is categorised as when someone has spent a long time with a confirmed case of COVID-19 but is not a household contact. This could include

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