Daily COVID-19 case numbers in the ACT have surpassed 1000 for the first time since the pandemic began nearly two years ago, prompting the reintroduction of restrictions that include a ban on dancing.
In a new daily record, there were 1246 infections in Canberra reported on Friday.
The rise in case numbers also coincides with a rise in the number of hospitalisations from the virus, which now stands at 24.
Intensive care patients have also risen in the past day, increasing to three, with all of them on a ventilator.
In response to the record case numbers, the ACT government reintroduced public health measures as well as a pause on elective surgery at one public hospital.
From noon on Saturday, January 8 customers at all hospitality businesses – including cafes, bars, nightclubs and indoor entertainment venues – must be seated while eating and drinking.
Pressure mounts on hospitals
Dancing at these venues will also not be allowed. Mandatory face masks and venue density limits will continue.
ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said the capital’s health system was starting to experience increased pressure, with more than 230 health care workers in quarantine.
In a statement she announced Calvary Public Hospital would cease most non-essential elective surgeries for the next six to eight weeks.
“Postponing elective surgeries is always incredibly difficult, but taking this action will enable additional health care staff to be redeployed to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak,” she said.
There will be no changes to elective surgeries at Canberra Hospital or in the ACT’s private hospitals.
ACT health officials said 3347 negative tests were recorded at government PCR testing clinics in the 24 hours to 9am on Friday.
The latest booster data has shown more than 20 per cent of Canberrans 18 and over have received their third vaccine dose.
The ACT has moved to a new system for isolation requirements following the surge in Omicron cases. Positive cases and household contacts will still have to self-isolate for seven days, along with people who had spent a long time at a residence of someone who has tested positive.
Those who have spent a few hours with a positive case in a setting such as a bar or restaurant are required to take a rapid antigen test, and another one six days after the exposure.
Low-risk contacts have been urged to monitor for symptoms and take a rapid test if required.