ACT records 810 new COVID-19 cases

Andrew Brown |

Canberra’s COVID-19 vaccination program will be expanded in the wake of rising Omicron cases, as the ACT recorded another high day of infections.

There were 810 new cases reported on Wednesday, a slight decrease from the 926 infections the day before.

Hospitalisations have increased to 16, while one patient is in intensive care and on a ventilator.

As Omicron infections surge across the ACT, Chief Minister Andrew Barr said an additional mass-vaccination clinic will be set up from late January to deal with large numbers of booster shots and child vaccines.

A second clinic will be re-established at Canberra Airport, which had previously been open during 2021’s Delta wave.

It will be run in addition to the other mass vaccination clinic being operated out of the Australian Institute of Sport.

Mr Barr said it was estimated the two sites would be able to provide more than 32,000 boosters per week, more than the high point seen during the height of the vaccine rollout during the ACT’s lockdown.

The second clinic will open from January 24.

The chief minister said there had been more than 75,000 PCR tests conducted in the past two weeks, or one-in-six Canberrans.

Testing clinics in the ACT have been under considerable strain in recent days, with lines stretching for several hours and many being turned away due to sites reaching capacity.

The latest health figures showed there were more than 2600 tests conducted at government-run clinics in the 24 hours to 9am.

The testing numbers are expected to be higher once non-government clinics are taken into account.

Health Minister Rachel-Stephen Smith said hospitalisations in the ACT were expected to rise next week.

Modelling has shown the number of COVID-related hospitalisations from January 10 to be between 19 and 60 patients.

Ms Stephen-Smith said the rise was expected due to the high number of infections in the community and the high levels of transmission associated with the Omicron variant.