ACT mandates healthcare staff vaccinations

·2-min read

The ACT is set to mandate its frontline healthcare workers be fully vaccinated, as the territory recorded 33 new cases of COVID.

The mandate will apply to any workers in hospitals, hospices and ambulance services.

While consultations are under way for the exact requirements of the mandate, it's expected healthcare workers will be required to have their first dose of a vaccine by October 29 and be fully vaccinated by December 1.

Of the 33 new cases reported on Tuesday, 28 have been linked, while five are still under investigation.

There were at least 14 cases that were infectious while they were in the community and six were in quarantine for all of their infectious period.

The number of COVID patients who are in Canberra hospitals now stands at 14 with five of those in intensive care and three of those on ventilators.

ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said vaccine numbers in the healthcare workforce were already high in the wake of the mandate.

More than 80 per cent of ACT health staff have self-reported they have been vaccinated with at least one dose.

"Most other jurisdictions have moved down this path," Ms Stephen-Smith said.

"The impact on the workforce will be small, if any."

The new figures come as ACT health authorities outlined plans on public reporting once lockdowns were eased.

The ACT's chief health officer Dr Kerryn Coleman said plans were being made for the territory to only report significant cases to the community.

"We will focus reporting on only those who pose a risk to others in the community, not those that pose a low-level of risk," Dr Coleman said.

"We do expect to see larger daily case numbers. This is inevitable due to a number of things but mostly due to the highly contagious nature of Delta and more people in the community as we ease restrictions."

The chief health officer also expressed concern at a large number of Canberrans who were waiting almost two weeks after the onset of COVID-like symptoms to come forward for testing.

"These statistics are going in the wrong direction," Dr Coleman said.

"We must stay the course and be vigilant and continue to follow the public health directions until the current lockdown restrictions are raised."

Canberra's lockdown is set to end on October 15, with a further easing of restrictions on October 29.

It comes as some COVID restrictions were eased on Tuesday, with some year 12 and 11 students able to return to the classroom.

Year 12 students will be able to return to schools for practical classes and assessments, while some year 11 students can attend in person only for essential assessments that cannot wait until October 18, when all classes for senior students will resume on campus.

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