Drop in testing worrying ACT Health

Colin BrinsdenAAP
The number of people getting tested in the ACT has dropped, concerning health officials.
Camera IconThe number of people getting tested in the ACT has dropped, concerning health officials. Credit: AAP

ACT health authorities are worried about a sharp drop in COVID-19 testing numbers, with figures more than halving compared to a week earlier.

While Sunday's tally of 33 new coronavirus infections was comfortably below recent record highs of 50-plus cases, ACT Health warned there has been a noticeable drop in the number of people getting tested.

It said while on Saturday October 9 there were more than 3500 tests undertaken, only 1508 tests were collected on Saturday October 16.

This was partly due to recent changes to the way exposure locations are now classified, it said.

However, ACT Chief Health Officer Kerryn Coleman said it was still an important reminder to Canberrans to continue coming forward for testing.

"Testing remains a vital step in the way we manage COVID-19, especially now that we have eased restrictions," Dr Coleman said.

The ACT started easing its lockdown last Friday, with more rule relaxations to come towards the end of the month.

"We are strongly urging Canberrans to continue to get tested with the mildest of COVID-19 symptoms and as soon as symptoms start," Dr Coleman said.

"While the risk is lower, it is important everyone remembers that even if fully vaccinated, you can still contract COVID-19 and pass it on to others, especially to those who are unvaccinated."

The ACT enjoys one of the highest vaccination rates in the country.

Of the 33 new cases reported on Sunday, 24 are linked to known infections or ongoing clusters.

As of Sunday, there were 16 COVID-19 patients in ACT hospitals, including nine in intensive care.

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