ACT records 15 new COVID-19 cases, as changes announced for Check In CBR app

The ACT has recorded 15 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19.Key points:At least eight of today’s cases spent some time in community while infectiousThere are nine people in hospital with the virus, with two patients in intensive careThe ACT government has updated its Check In CBR app to enable push notificationsAt least eight of those cases were infectious in the community and the isolation status of two people is still under investigation.Two cases are yet to be linked to a known case or cluster.Nine people are in hospital with the virus — two of those are in intensive care and one requires ventilation.A man in his 20s who had required ventilation is no longer receiving breathing support.ACT in ‘race to vaccinate’  ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr says the territory is a ‘race to vaccinate’ residents as soon as possible.(ABC News: Ian Cutmore)ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said in the next 24 hours, the territory was expected to reach a new milestone — 50 per cent of the population aged over 16 being fully vaccinated.”Over 50 per cent of 30-39-year-olds have now had a first dose of a vaccine. Over 40 per cent of 16-29-year-olds have now had a first dose,” he said.”This is a really encouraging start to the vaccination program for under 40s. But as these figures bear out, there are still people who have not yet had access to a vaccine, not yet had access to the level of protection that a vaccine provides.”Mr Barr said he wanted to ensure all Canberrans had access to a vaccine before “significant changes” to public health measures were implemented.”In the simplest possible terms: the next eight weeks are a race to get as many people fully vaccinated as quickly as possible,” Mr Barr said.”It remains the government’s very firm view that these people should be given that opportunity before we make significant changes to our public health directions.”LIVE UPDATES: Read our blog for the latest news on the COVID-19 pandemicSpace to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.WatchDuration: 4 minutes 34 seconds4m 34s Moderna vs Pfizer: What’s the difference?Changes to Check In CBR appThe ACT government has also announced changes to its Check In CBR app, which will enable push notifications to be sent to Canberrans who have checked in at an exposure site.A card with a QR code will also be made available for anyone who does not have a smartphone.”The free Check In CBR card will provide another option for Canberrans who don’t have a smartphone or are unable to download the app,” ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said.”While venues have been able to check customers in through the business profile, we know that isn’t an ideal solution.”Each Check In CBR card will have its own unique QR code and customers will simply present it to be scanned using the Check In CBR business profile.” A card with a QR code will also be made available for people without a smartphone.(ABC News: Harry Frost)The ABC sent detailed questions to ACT Health two weeks ago asking why the Check In CBR lacked push notifications, after some Canberrans were notified that they had visited an exposure site a week after the location was publicly identified.ACT Health did not respond to those questions, but today announced it had would begin using push notifications.”The new exposure location alert feature responds to feedback from the community. Adding these alerts will make it easier for Canberrans to act quickly if they have potentially been exposed to COVID-19 and help limit the spread of the virus in the community,” Ms Stephen-Smith said.”The digital team in ACT Health has worked hard throughout the pandemic to respond to the challenges presented by COVID-19 and to consumer feedback.”A range of new features have been added in the 12 months since Check In CBR was launched, but it’s important to remember that the app needs to be updated regularly for these features to be available. This is a good opportunity for everyone to check that their app is up-to-date.” The ACT government has announced changes to its Check In CBR app.(Supplied: ACT Government)NSW ‘risk factor’ in ACT government’s lockdown plan Large parts of regional New South Wales will come out of lockdown this week, including the local government area of Yass Valley, just over the ACT’s border.An additional case was also recorded this morning at Batemans Bay, and two new cases were confirmed in Merimbula.Mr Barr said the ACT government would consider the situation in surrounding NSW region when assessing the territory’s lockdown restrictions in the coming weeks.”As I understand the NSW changes, they wouldn’t be permitting travel from non-locked down into locked-down areas,” Mr Barr said.”So, I think the main implication of that is a lot more movement within the local government area than between local government areas.”So, if you’re watching this from Yass, then I wouldn’t be advising moving too far out of your local government area, in fact, I wouldn’t be doing that at all.”Mr Barr has always flagged a “gradual easing” of restrictions for when the territory’s lockdown lifts, and today said he would provide more details on those plans next Tuesday.”The clear advice is that we will need to maintain many public health measures for the weeks ahead,” Mr Barr said.”I want to assure everyone that the path we will take will be informed by the health advice.”ACT Deputy Chief Health Officer Vanessa Johnstone also urged Canberrans to look out for each other, on R U OK? Day, and as the territory was about to enter its fifth week of lockdown.”Being in quarantine is hard. Being in isolation is hard. And just being under stay-at-home restrictions is hard,” Dr Johnstone said.”It’s important to remember that it’s okay to find these experiences challenging, it is okay to not be okay at this point in time and to reach out for support.”Please, reach out to friends, to family – to the many support services that are on offer if you are struggling and you need support at this time.”There were 3,432 tests conducted across ACT in the past 24 hours.ACT Policing conducted 433 traffic stops, with four directions issued to leave the territory.What you need to know about coronavirus:Loading form…

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