NT introduces outdoor mask mandate, as COVID-19 territory hospital admissions rise to new high of 111

The number of people with COVID-19 in hospitals in the Northern Territory hit a new high of 111 as the Territory recorded 828 new cases of coronavirus overnight.

Of those in hospital, 10 patients are receiving oxygen and five are in intensive care, Health Minister Natasha Fyles said.

Of the new cases, 648 were recorded from rapid antigen tests while the rest were from PCR tests.

There are now 4,650 active cases of COVID-19 in the NT.

Ms Fyles said that in response to the rising number of cases, from 6 p.m. Saturday a seven-day outdoor mask mandate would come into effect across the territory.

The mandate will apply to people aged 12 and over outdoors whenever they cannot maintain a 1.5 distance from others, but will not apply during exercise.

The NT-wide indoor mask mandate remains in place.

“It’s just because we’ve seen a sharp increase in these new cases, which we attribute in large part to the end of school vacations and this increase in interstate arrivals,” Ms. Fyles said.

“We really want to bring our case numbers down to that average of what we were seeing, [that] about 450 on average over seven days.”

Deputy Chief Health Officer Jacqui Murdoch said the outdoor mask mandate was aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 in the community.

“What we have seen and what we know from international evidence is that masks are really effective in stopping the spread of Omicron, and that is why we have recommended the introduction of an outdoor mask mandate , to try to prevent these increased numbers from translating into greater community transmission,” she said.

Ms Fyles also said the closures at Gunyangara (Ski Beach), Wurrumiyanga on the Tiwi Islands and Utopia in Central Australia would end at 2pm today as scheduled.

The number of cases at Alice Springs Prison has jumped, with 154 new cases recorded yesterday.

There are now a total of 274 cases at the facility.

Ms Fyles said the 154 people who tested positive yesterday were asymptomatic and the prison population had a full vaccination rate of 86%.

Ms Fyles also said 22 new cases had been recorded in Milingimbi in Arnhem Land.

“Our officials are just working on the help they will need in this situation, so we can provide them with support and resources,” she said.

She said health authorities were also working with Wadeye after the community recorded its first case of COVID-19 yesterday.

Distribution of NT cases

Communities under lockdown or lockdown restrictions

  • 24 cases in Milikapiti
  • 30 cases in Galiwin’ku
  • 6 cases in Gunyangara
  • 2 cases in Wurrumiyanga
  • 5 cases in Amoonguna
  • 2 cases in Yuendumu
  • 8 cases in Ampilatwatja

Cases in communities that are not subject to lockdown or lockdown restrictions:

Upper end:

  • 6 cases in Palumpa
  • 1 case in Wadeye
  • 3 cases in Jabiru
  • 5 cases in Gunbalanya
  • 1 case on Melville Island
  • 11 cases in the community of Bagot
  • 14 cases at Batten Road Short Stay Accommodation in Darwin
  • 3 cases at Darwin Correctional Center
  • 1 case in Warruwi
  • 1 case in Juninga

East Arnhem:

  • 3 cases in Nhulunbuy
  • 22 cases in Milingimbi
  • 3 cases in Umbakumba
  • 2 cases in Angurugu
  • 1 case at Raminginging

Major rivers:

  • 1 case in Ngukurr
  • 2 cases in Minyallaluk
  • 8 cases in Jilkmingan
  • 10 cases in Lajamanu
  • 11 cases in Pine Creek
  • 24 cases in Kybrook
  • 6 cases in Bulla
  • 16 cases in urban camps around Katherine
  • 16 cases in Barunga
  • 6 cases in Beswick
  • 14 cases in Binjari
  • 1 case in Minyerri

Central Australia:

  • 1 case in Utopia
  • 2 cases in Laramba
  • 5 cases in Mutitjulu
  • 1 case in Kintore
  • 2 cases in Areyonga
  • 1 case in Papunya
  • 10 cases in Ntaria (Hermannsburg)
  • 4 cases in Santa Teresa
  • 2 cases in Imanpa
  • 1 case in Docker River
  • 2 cases at Mt Liebig
  • 2 cases in Ti Tree
  • 13 cases in urban camps around Alice Springs
  • 154 cases at Alice Springs Correctional Center
  • 5 cases in an “alternative to police custody” establishment
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