The ACT government is confident it can prevent a COVID-19 outbreak in the healthcare system after a Calvary aged care staff member tested positive on Thursday.
It's understood the staff member worked at the Haydon Retirement Community while infectious, but it is unclear if the affected areas have been deep cleaned.
The staff member will be included in the tally on Friday, prompting ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith moved to quell concerns about an outbreak in the health sector.
"I would like to assure the community that ACT health facilities have extensive Covid management plans in place to minimise the risk to staff and to those who are receiving care," Ms Stephen-Smith said.
Calvary has told residents to stay in their rooms and group dining and activities have been cancelled.
"We understand this is distressing news for families with residents in our care," a Calvary statement said.
"We want to reassure them that our priority and sole focus is the safety, health and wellbeing of their family members in our care during this challenging time.
"To this end, we have strictly adhered to the advice of ACT Health and the Commonwealth Department of Health on our response to COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic and will continue to work closely with them.
Our staff have thoroughly prepared for a COVID-19 outbreak, they are trained in strict infection prevention and control protocols and are focusing all of their attention on the individual care needs of our residents.
We are working closely with ACT Health on contact tracing which includes tracking down and contacting all relevant individuals who have been in contact with the affected person."
The government will add 40 extra nurses to its staff next week and Ms Stephen-Smith said there were fewer than 50 healthcare staff in quarantine or in isolation.
"We have seen Covid exposure at our health facilities and this is to be expected as we see more positive cases require care and interact with our health services," Ms Stephen-Smith said.
"Front-line staff wear full PPE at all times while interacting with patients including face shields and masks. There is a high level of vaccination across our front-line health staff, particularly in our Covid wards.
"Anyone working with known Covid-19 positive patients, or highly likely Covid-19 positive patients, is fully vaccinated or has had a conversation with their manager. Anyone working on a Covid ward is fully vaccinated."
The government has been racing to get ahead of the outbreak, which has now grown to 674 cases in the past six weeks. There are 211 active cases.
There are concerns clusters are growing in the public housing community. Deputy chief health officer Vanessa Johnston confirmed pop-up testing sites had been established on Thursday.
Medical centres are expected to be listed as exposure sites and ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr was concerned after none of the 16 new cases were in quarantine during their infectious period.
"We know at least 11 spent part of their infectious period in the community," Mr Barr said.
"... If you have any symptoms, please come forward for testing straight away. Too many of our cases have been waiting days and days with symptoms before coming forward to get tested. That's why they have been infectious in the community for an extended period of time.
"This would be one of the ongoing challenges of getting the number of infectious people in the community down ... the delay and time people are taking to come forward to get tested. Please, if you have any symptoms, you have to come forward for testing."
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