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Unvaxxed are 80 pc of ACT critical cases

Despite a small number of intensive care cases in the ACT, unvaccinated people are making up four in five of those in the ICU.

The ACT has recorded 537 new COVID-19 cases and no new deaths, with 62 people in hospital with the virus.

There are two people in intensive care and one requiring ventilation, according to the figures reported on Monday.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr says the one per cent of ACT residents who are unvaccinated make up more than 80 per cent of people requiring intensive care in January.

“We have a very low number of people in intensive care, who are overwhelmingly people who are not vaccinated,” he said.

“We are very conscious of the number of people with severe disease that requires them to be in hospital to be treated for COVID.”

More than half of the people in hospital with COVID are not there because of the virus, Mr Barr said.

Almost half of the territory’s residents above the age of 18 have received their booster shot, while about 70 per cent of children between the age of five and 11 have had their first dose.

Mr Barr said the ACT would move to change the definition of fully vaccinated to three doses if the recommendation was agreed to by national cabinet.

There are now 4175 active cases in the territory, and the total number of cases is nearing 36,000.

It comes as the ACT government extends its public health requirements, with mask mandates, density limits and a ban on dancing extended until at least February 25.

Measures could be relaxed sooner if recommended by health authorities at a checkpoint in a fortnight.

Mr Barr said extension of these measures is a sensible step to mitigate virus transmission as activity increases.

“We’re anticipating much more movement across the community over the coming weeks as Canberrans go back to work and schools reopen,” Mr Barr said.

The chief minister has encouraged people to work from home where possible and 200,000 rapid antigen tests will be handed out to teachers and students to monitor virus transmission as schools return.

Mr Barr says the curve in the ACT has stabilised over the past 10 days but with eight times the amount of testing, it is likely a lot of symptomatic cases will be picked up and inflate official figures.

“We are going to get a very good level of surveillance of asymptomatic infection in the community over the course of this week and the next few that will give us a sense of where in this Omicron wave we are at,” he said.

With daily cases sitting between 500 to 1000 in the ACT, Mr Barr said if daily numbers came in at less than 4000 to 8000 it meant the ACT was “definitely on the downside of this Omicron wave”.

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