NSW virus increase: Health chief says stay vigilant 

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ACT chief health officer Kerryn Coleman. Photo: Holly Treadaway

FOLLOWING the end of the school holidays, and with 11 confirmed COVID-19 cases recorded in NSW in the past 24 hours, ACT chief health officer Dr Kerryn Coleman is urging Canberrans to remain vigilant and get tested if they feel unwell. 

Her warning comes after the territory reached a milestone of more than 100,000 negative COVID-19 tests, and more than three months without an active covid case.

However, with families still returning home from school holidays, Dr Coleman says this period, in particular, is important for Canberrans to follow public health advice. 

“Certainly for travellers coming from NSW,” she says.

“There aren’t many cases in NSW but there are small clusters and there is a lot of travel back and forward between NSW and us, so it is a particular time to keep vigilant and be careful.”

Health authorities have also begun looking into how a woman contracted COVID-19 after she transited at Canberra Airport, when travelling from Townsville to Melbourne on October 7. 

“As a precaution we have traced her close contacts from that plane and we are working with the other jurisdictions, particularly QLD and Victoria in investigating the circumstances with the case,” Dr Coleman says. 

“We don’t know whether this was an old infection or a new infection, those things are still being looked at.

“We do think it’s low risk, this woman displayed excellent behaviour in that she wore a mask at all times, she was in minimal contact with people and had no symptoms that she reports, so there is low level risk even if she was infectious, which we don’t know at this stage.”

No active COVID-19 cases in the ACT have been recorded in the past 24 hours, but that’s no reason to become complacent, Dr Coleman says.

“We are seeing daily testing numbers declining a little bit but overall  Canberrans have been wonderful,” she says. 

“We do wax and wane a little bit, but I think everyone does, some weekends we do fantastic with our social distancing and other weekends we might be a bit off the pot, but that’s to be expected.

“Overall everyone has been keen to engage around how best we can develop that baseline set of behaviours and understanding and how we can learn to live with covid moving forward.”


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