ACT COVID spike 'expected', 25 new cases

·2-min read

The ACT's health minister has admitted it's too early to tell whether a spike in COVID-19 cases in Canberra would lead to an even greater surge in infections.

There were 25 new cases in Canberra reported on Thursday, the highest number of daily infections for almost a month.

However, Rachel Stephen-Smith said a rapid increase in cases was not unexpected as Canberra eased its COVID-19 restrictions.

"It's too early to say whether this increase is the start of a trend or if it will come back down," she told reporters in Canberra.

"We expected case numbers would increase as we move around, and gather more as we move towards the Christmas period."

The last time the case numbers were higher was on October 21, when 28 infections were reported.

It comes as the capital's nation-leading vaccine rate continues to climb, which now sits at 96.8 per cent of residents 12 and over being fully vaccinated.

Three COVID patients remain in Canberra hospitals, with one being treated in intensive care and on a ventilator.

Ms Stephen-Smith said two new Canberra schools have been listed as exposure sites, taking the total number of affected campuses to 20.

An outbreak at one of the campuses in Canberra's south has been linked to as many as 57 infections.

The territory government is finalising plans to roll out rapid antigen testing in schools as an extra safeguard for students.

Ms Stephen-Smith said cabinet was meeting on Thursday to discuss the approval of the tests.

An announcement on the rollout is expected to be made on Friday.

There was another day of high testing rates, with 2035 negative tests reported in the past 24 hours.

However, the health minister urged Canberrans not to come forward for testing if they needed a negative test result in order to travel interstate where it was a requirement.

"You're not able to get tested at ACT facilities if you don't meet the requirements for testing, which is either you have COVID symptoms, you're a close contact, or you're asked to get tested by health authorities," she said.

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