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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 09 Hansard (Thursday, 16 September 2021) . . Page.. 2571 ..


health and wellbeing of residents and support staff. I thank Ainslie Village residents, the vast majority of whom are doing the right thing and working with our team to quarantine safely.

As of 13 September, nearly 90 per cent of cases in the current outbreak have been locally acquired and linked to a known case or cluster. Almost 10 per cent of cases remain unlinked and, to date, two cases have been identified as having been acquired interstate from an unknown source. A number of new cases remain under investigation and will be classified as linked or unlinked as interviews are undertaken.

On 14 September, there were more than 2,673 people in quarantine being supported by ACT Health, with 990 of these individuals identified as close contacts of locally acquired cases and more than 1,600 individuals from COVID-19 affected areas. Additionally, the ACT continues to manage the return of diplomats and government officials travelling to Canberra for official duties.

Testing numbers in the ACT have increased significantly in the last month due to the ACT outbreak. The ACT has recorded a total of 426,723 negative tests conducted as at 9 am on 15 September, throughout the entire pandemic. During the current outbreak testing numbers have ranged from around 1,500 a day to a peak of almost 8,500 a day, or 19.7 per 1,000 population. Peak testing demand was experienced very early in the outbreak and was driven, in part, by the large number of contacts associated with school clusters. Testing numbers have decreased significantly as fewer close contact exposure locations are identified.

Additional testing sites were stood up very quickly in addition to the ACT’s existing testing sites at Exhibition Park in Canberra and the Weston Creek Walk-in Centre, which have continued to provide testing for the community, with operational improvements made at these locations to improve efficiency and waiting times. Testing services at Weston Creek, of course, transferred to the Garran COVID-19 Surge Centre on 9 September, and this has allowed the Access and Sensory Vaccination Clinic to operate at Weston Creek.

I also take this opportunity to acknowledge the commonwealth-funded, GP-led respiratory clinics, the Winnunga Nimmityjah Respiratory Clinic and private pathology providers that also provide testing in the ACT. Capital Pathology, in particular, surged quickly to help meet demand for testing and did a fantastic job establishing a number of sites in partnership with ACT government agencies.

I remind all Canberrans to get tested if they are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms. Strong testing rates of approximately 3,000 tests per day are required for the ACT to maintain a sound level of surveillance across the community.

As the Chief Minister announced on 14 September, the ACT lockdown has been extended for a further four weeks until Friday, 15 October. When considering changes to the public health directions, there is a clear focus on the following principles: protection of public health; measures that see people getting back to work as soon as possible; and measures to support mental health and wellbeing. Ultimately, the aim of the lockdown is to limit movement across the territory and reduce the risk of further


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