20 August 2021

UPDATED: ACT records 12 new COVID-19 positives, more testing sites open

| Lottie Twyford
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9:30 am: Queanbeyan Woolworths and Amcal Pharmacy have been identified as the first exposure sites in the ‘border bubble’ after Queanbeyan recorded two positive COVID-19 tests on Thursday (19 August).

Anyone who visited the supermarket or pharmacy from 9:00 am to 11:30 am on Monday (16 August) is considered a casual contact and must get tested and self isolate.

NSW Deputy Premier and Member for Monaro John Barilaro said yesterday that both people lived in Queanbeyan but worked in the ACT. He also described Queanbeyan as an area of concern and said cases there were likely to grow.

The lockdown in regional NSW has been extended until at least 28 August, in line with Greater Sydney after the state yesterday recorded another record of 681 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19.

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There are several testing clinics operating in Queanbeyan and across the Monaro, some of which are assisting ACT Health in processing large numbers of tests.

Speaking on breakfast radio this morning, the Minister for Health Rachel Stephen-Smith said wait times for tests had rapidly decreased in line with demand.

Some people had reported only waiting around one hour for a test yesterday afternoon.

Ms Stephen-Smith attributed this to fewer people coming forward for testing, doing so in a more orderly manner, improved logistics and the success of targeted testing around large cohorts, such as the aged care facility and schools.

She reiterated that she expects the number of cases to go up and down in the next few days, given there are over 21,000 people in quarantine and more than 240 exposure sites listed on the Government’s website.

There are more currently more than 500 health and medical professionals in isolation or quarantine.

Check the full list of exposure sites.

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Ms Stephen-Smith encouraged Canberrans to continue to be patient as they wait for responses from her office or ACT Health, but urged people not to send generic emails.

She said all of the team is busy processing the requests they are sent.

Ms Stephen-Smith also noted the frustration being felt by vulnerable Canberrans who cannot attend testing clinics and may need in-reach testing or other support. She said they are closely focused on this issue and are working on providing an inclusive response.

People who do need accessible testing are encouraged to call the COVID-19 hotline 6207 7244 or the direct contact tracers’ number they will have been provided with.

Ms Stephen-Smith clarified that people who live in postcodes outside the border bubble must apply for an exemption to enter the ACT, including for health-related appointments.

More to come.

Original Article published by Lottie Twyford on The RiotACT.

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