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ACT testing changes after record 252 cases

The ACT has reported 252 new cases of COVID-19 in the latest figures, a significant increase on 189 infections the previous day.

There are three people in hospital but none in intensive care or requiring ventilation.

The new cases come amongst 2980 negative tests in the same reporting period.

There are now more than 900 active cases and the territory has surpassed 3000 cases during the current outbreak period from August 12.

The ACT’s double dose vaccination rate for its 12 plus population is 98.5 per cent.

The ACT is now downgrading its advice for many locations identified as casual exposure sites to ‘monitor for symptoms,’ in response to the increased presence of COVID-19 in the community.

ACT Health will instead focus on high risk settings and vulnerable populations.

“ACT Health is continually adjusting the public health response to focus on identifying those who are at highest risk of exposure and those most likely to develop severe illness,” it said in a statement.

Asymptomatic people do not need to quarantine and are not required to take a COVID-19 test.

Those in quarantine from the reclassified sites are able to leave immediately and do not need to wait to hear from ACT Health providing they do not have any symptoms.

People who visited these sites are being told to remain vigilant and get a PCR test and isolate until a negative result is received if symptoms develop.

The updated requirements don’t apply to casual contacts who have had interactions with a confirmed case.

These people will still be required to get a PCR test and isolate until they receive a negative result.

ACT Health will also stop its SMS messages to people who have been to exposure locations identified by the Check In CBR app.

The app will send push notifications to people when an exposure site is visited.

Queuing chaos continues across the territory with police needing to be called out to respond to a number of incidents.

The ACT had to reopen a fourth testing centre to meet demand after three centres hit capacity early Tuesday morning and some sites had a four hour or more wait after midday.

The officer in charge of the ACT policing COVID-19 taskforce Acting Inspector Ben Willis said incidents stemmed from people taking their frustrations out on staff at testing clinics.

“If the testing centre has reached capacity and staff have to turn you away, please follow their directions so ACT police do not have to attend and assist you on your way,” he said.

“It is not fair on ACT policing, it is not fair on the rest of the community who need ACT policing services and it is certainly not fair on ACT Health staff who are working under tremendous pressure at this time.”

Acting inspector Willis asked people in the territory to keep up to date with testing and travel requirements, saying some people may not need a test anymore.

“Consider if you do need to be tested. The reasons for people to be tested have changed,” he said.

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