Chief Minister Andrew Barr, has just held a press conference about the current COVID-19 situation in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). 1862 people have been identified in the ACT as close contacts and are thus required to get tested and isolate. Another 2038 persons have been identified as casual contacts.  

The total number of active cases in the ACT has risen to 6 which includes a school student from Gold Creek High School. The student is not linked to any previous active cases in the community.

Residences at the ANU remain in quarantine, with updated restrictions for Fenner Hall and University House released. A close contact has been identified at Fenner Hall, and all residents must stay in their room until advised otherwise. University House has announced that its residents must wear a mask both inside and outside and must choose a ‘lockdown buddy’. All other residences remain in quarantine.

The status of ‘patient zero’ and where they contracted COVID-19 has not yet been confirmed, with Minister Barr stating that it is not an immediate priority. 

In the ACT, over 2000 tests have been conducted, 1328 have returned negative so far and two positive cases have been identified. ACT Health had their largest surge in testing and there are extensive wait times at all testing centres. ACT Health are reminding the community to only get tested if they are identified as a close or casual contact or are symptomatic. Minister Rachel Stephen Smith and the Chief Minister reminded everyone that staff are working around the clock to conduct tests and thanked everyone in the community for their cooperation so far. 

Testing capacity and hours of operation are set to increase in response to huge testing demand. Hundreds were turned back from EPIC and the Brindabella Testing site. Testing is also being conducted at pharmacies and Capital Pathology clinics in O’Connor, Holt, Woden and Crace with no GP referral required.

Visitor restrictions are in place. Visitation is only accepted if a carer is required, or in birthing or family member end-of-life circumstances. One hour of exercise is allowed per day, if individuals choose to nominate a buddy for exercise that buddy must live in the same local area. 

Information about open essential services, exposure sites and testing locations are available on the ACT Health website. Information about COVID disaster payments available to those who have lost work due to lockdown can be found on the Services Australia website.