COVID-19 has claimed the live of a woman in her 70s who was receiving end-of life care bringing ACT’s death toll in the current outbreak to six.
All six COVID-related deaths in the ACT from the current outbreak had been receiving end-of-life care.
A total of 28 new cases were recorded and a baby also tested positive at Canberra’s Centenary Hospital.
Nineteen of the new cases were linked to previous cases, while nine are still under investigation by health authorities.
There were 11 cases that were in quarantine the whole time, with five being infectious in the community.
The number of COVID patients in Canberra hospitals now stands at 16, seven of those being in intensive care and four being on a ventilator.
ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said the baby had been in a special care nursery for some time and had been moved to a COVID ward.
“This situation is being expertly handled and Canberrans can feel safe to attend hospitals if they require care,” she said.
“Canberra Health Services’ COVID exposure team is conducting a full risk assessment.”
It is not yet known how the baby acquired COVID, but first symptoms were first reported overnight.
Close contacts, which included family, other patients and staff have been contacted by health authorities and have been told to isolate.
Other sections of the special care nursery have not been affected by the outbreak.
The special care nursery is one of the few places in the hospital where visitor restrictions are not enforced, due to parents needing to come in.
It comes as the ACT is set to mandate vaccines for frontline healthcare workers.
However, Ms Stephen-Smith said the ACT was looking at whether to include disability workers as part of the mandate, noting that the federal government had refused to make vaccines mandatory for the group.
“We’re actively considering what we should do and how to do it,” she said.
“It’s disappointing it hasn’t been prioritised as a national cabinet item.”
More than 95 per cent of Canberrans aged 12 and up have now received one dose of a COVID vaccine while over 66 per cent are fully vaccinated.
Ms Stephen-Smith said she expected the ACT to reach 70 per cent of the eligible population being fully vaccinated in coming days.
With health authorities expecting virus numbers to increase as restrictions ease, the health minister said it was critical for children not eligible for the vaccine to be surrounded by as many vaccinated people as possible.
“Being vaccinated doesn’t completely remove the risk of getting the virus – it does reduce that risk of being less unwell and transmitting to another person, and that’s an important protection,” she said.
The total number of cases of the ACT’s current outbreak is now 1,066 with 663 recovered cases.
There are currently 395 active cases in the ACT.