The ACT has hit a new daily record of Covid infections, with 58 cases recorded in the past 24 hours.
The dramatic spike compares to a seven-day average of just 16 and brings the number of active cases in Canberra to 174.
There are three people in hospital with the virus but none are in the intensive care unit.
Local testing sites are struggling to manage huge demand, with two of the ACT’s main sites reaching their capacity before midday.
ACT Chief Health Officer Kerryn Coleman said “tourism testing” — families getting tested before travelling interstate for Christmas — was placing strain on testing clinics.
“I’ve been looking at South Australia and NSW, whose systems are under great pressure, and Victoria as well,” Dr Coleman said.
“Having reached the testing numbers we were doing at the peak of our outbreak in August, we never thought we could get to that level of testing, so I’m proud of the team to be able to deliver that.”
Dr Coleman is hopeful demand is peaking and will begin to drop towards the end of the year.
“I hear and understand the community is frustrated with the waiting times and the ability to get a test – please have patience, we’re really trying to deliver,” she said.
There are 98.4 per cent of ACT residents aged 12 years and over who are fully vaccinated.