Newborn baby tests positive to Covid while in NICU at a hospital in Canberra
- The ACT has recorded 28 new locally-acquired Covid cases and one death
- Authorities announced one case is a newborn baby staying at Canberra Hospital
- The baby had been staying in a special care nursery but is now in a Covid ward
- The alarming case comes as Canberra hits two major vaccination milestones
- Some 67.8 per cent of residents are vaccinated, with lockdown to end in days
A newborn baby has tested positive to Covid-19 while staying in the neonatal intensive care unit at a Canberra Hospital.
The ACT recorded 28 new Covid cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Tuesday and one death, bringing the territory’s death toll for the current outbreak to six.
Authorities said one of the latest cases includes a baby who was diagnosed at the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children.
ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said the baby had been in a special care nursery for some time and had been moved to a Covid ward.
‘This situation is being expertly handled and Canberrans can feel safe to attend hospitals if they require care,’ she said.
A newborn baby is being treated for Covid-19 after contracting the virus while staying in the NICU at Canberra Centenary Hospital (pictured)
Of the new cases, 19 are linked to known cases or outbreaks, while nine are still under investigation by health authorities.
There were 11 cases that were in quarantine the whole time, with five being infectious in the community.
The woman who died was aged in her 70s and was receiving end-of life care at an aged-care facility in Canberra’s north. Her death brings the territory’s death.
The number of Covid patients in Canberra hospitals now stands at 16, seven of those being in intensive care and four being on a ventilator.
Meanwhile, Australia’s capital city has hit two major vaccine milestones as it residents count down the days until Covid restrictions are scheduled to be lifted on October 15.
The ACT now has 93.8 per cent of its over-16s with a first dose of the vaccine, and is leading the country for fully immunised residents, at 67.8 per cent.
However, while Canberra is on track to have restrictions lifted, the territory’s Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman urged people with Covid symptoms to keep coming forward for testing.
The alarming case is one of 28 new infections recorded in the ACT on Wednesday. Pictured: A pedestrian wearing a face shield walks through Canberra
The baby had been in a special care nursery for some time and has been moved to a Covid ward (stock)
It comes after the latest figures showed 10 per cent of coronavirus cases had waited more than five days after developing symptoms to get tested, while almost half of all cases waited two or more days to get tested.
‘These statistics are going in the wrong direction,’ Dr Coleman said.
‘We must stay the course and be vigilant and continue to follow these public health directions until the current lockdown restrictions are raised.
‘We need us to be in the strongest position possible as we change these public health measures.’
Among those changes will be a focus on high-risk COVID cases, rather than every person who tests positive.
Dr Coleman said health authorities would shift focus to those who represented the most danger to transmitting the virus to other members of the community.
ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith (pictured) said experts are handling the baby’s case
‘Reporting will change as lockdown eases,’ she said.
‘We do expect to see larger daily case numbers and we need to accept a degree of transmission in the ACT.
‘This is inevitable due to a number of things, but mostly due to the highly contagious nature of Delta and more people in the community as we ease restrictions.’
The territory will also move to mandate vaccines for all frontline healthcare workers, which includes workers in hospitals, hospices and ambulance staff.
The deadline for the vaccines has yet to be confirmed, but Ms Stephen-Smith said it was likely healthcare workers would need their first dose by October 29, and be fully vaccinated by December 1.
Ms Stephen-Smith said she did not expect to see large numbers of health staff stood down due to the mandate.