Tasmanians continuing to support each other during challenging time

09 Jan 2022

Jeremy Rockliff, Minister for Health

The health and safety of Tasmanians remains our number one priority as we continue to live with COVID-19 in our community.

Thank you to all Tasmanians who are supporting each other during this challenging time – from our hard-working and dedicated frontline health staff and testing teams to Tasmanians who are voluntarily reporting their Rapid Antigen Test results.

We especially appreciate the essential workers who, based on Public Health advice and with the support of the AMA, can now return to work earlier to help keep our health system working efficiently.

The Omicron variant has rapidly changed the rules for everyone and we are being innovative and flexible in our responses.

We understand that this is a stressful time for many people but Tasmanians have a record of working together and pitching in when it counts and the best way to get through this is by following the best health advice, get vaccinated and use your common sense.

Today’s positive case figure has dropped to 1406 with 598 cases detected from positive PCR tests and 808 cases detected from self-reported Rapid Antigen Tests, and again we thank Tasmanians for registering their RAT positive result on the Public Health website to help us track and provide support to cases.

These new cases bring the total number of active cases in Tasmania to 7473 as of 8pm last night.

Importantly, over 1500 people have now been released from isolation with 435 people released in the past 24 hours.

There are 15 people in hospital who have COVID but still only four people are being treated specifically for COVID symptoms.

King Island has recorded an extra 11 positive cases bringing the total to 92 and RATs have arrived on the Island for distribution today.

The low number of hospital admissions in relation to positive cases continues to reflect the current medical evidence that the Omicron strain, while highly transmissible, is much milder and less severe.

Tasmania is one of the most vaccinated jurisdictions in the world and this is our best protection, along with getting your booster, following the established health practices and using your common sense.

We continue to average between 3000-5000 PCR tests each day and we also issued nearly 15,000 free Rapid Antigen Tests yesterday, available for symptomatic cases and close contacts.

Tasmanians are reminded that you only need to register a positive RAT result on the Public Health website if you have not undertaken a PCR test. Positive PCR tests are automatically registered.

RATs are now available to symptomatic people or close contacts at the following sites from 8am-4pm*:
- MyState Bank Arena, Hobart (*from 12 noon to 4pm today given Cadbury Marathon);
- Rokeby Police Academy, Hobart;
- Silverdome, Launceston; and
- Ulverstone Sports Centre.

These collection points are not for people who do not have symptoms of COVID-19 and have not been deemed a close contact of a positive case. So please do not turn up unless you are symptomatic or a close contact.

If you are in a rural or regional area and you are symptomatic or a close contact of a case, please contact the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738 to arrange the collection of a free RAT or to book a PCR test at a Testing Clinic. There will be further options identified for access to a free RAT in regional areas in the coming days.

If you test positive using a RAT and have not had a PCR test, you should complete your details in the Rapid Antigen Test - Positive Result Declaration Form found on the coronavirus website.

This will ensure you can access assistance from Public Health Services and the COVID@home team during your illness if required. Registering will be a requirement and will ensure you can access assistance from Public Health, including the COVID@Home team, should you require it, along with accessing the financial supports available.

You must then isolate for seven days, and if free from symptoms after that time, you no longer need to isolate.

You must, however, for the next 7 days after isolation, wear a mask when out in the community and avoid high-risk settings.

Your close contacts must also isolate for 7 days and undertake a RAT test on days 1 and 6 and if negative on day 6, can leave isolation after the seventh day.

These are challenging times and it understandable that many people in the community are feeling anxious, but this is what we’ve been preparing for and is the reason we are highly vaccinated, with a well prepared health system.

We will continue to keep Tasmanians informed at every step moving forward as the pandemic continues to evolve.

Tasmanians are also encouraged to book in for your booster when it is due, with thousands of appointments now available on www.coronavirus.tas.gov.au or see your local participating GP or pharmacy.