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Newborn baby tests positive to Covid while in NICU at Canberra Hospital 

Newborn baby tests positive to Covid while in NICU at Canberra Hospital

A newborn baby has tested positive to Covid-19 while staying in the neonatal intensive care unit at Canberra Hospital.

The ACT recorded 28 new Covid cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Tuesday and one death. 

Authorities said one of the latest cases includes a baby who was diagnosed at Canberra Centenary Hospital.

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.

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. 

Australia’s capital city has also 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.  

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.

‘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 Health Minister Rachel 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.


More to come.