Contact tracing efforts are underway and ACT Health is exploring whether an extra testing centre will be needed after a man from Sydney with low levels of COVID-19 visited Canberra.
The man in his 40s from Sydney's north-western suburbs visited the ACT on Monday, June 14. He visited the National Gallery of Australia and Via Dolce Pasticceria, which have subsequently been identified as potential exposure sites.
Anyone who visited the Botticelli to Van Gogh exhibition and gift shop at the gallery from 12pm to 1.45pm or visited Via Dolce Pasticceria on Bunda Street from 2.45 to 3.15pm has been asked to immediately self isolate.
People who visited during that period must isolate until further advised by ACT Health, get a COVID-19 test, and fill in the declaration form on the ACT COVID-19 website.
Those who visited the National Gallery of Australia, including the main gift shop, from 12pm to 2pm on Monday June 14 must be vigilant for even the mildest COVID-19 symptoms and get tested if symptoms arise.
ACT Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman said the man had returned a low level test and was not highly infectious.
"I can understand that this might be causing a little bit of confusion in the community and we spent a lot of time with NSW health trying to understand the situation," Dr Coleman said.
"What we do know is that this case has tested positive of a number of platforms but negative on others so what that means is we are not 100 per cent sure that it is a case but we can't exclude the fact that it is.
"It's certainly not highly infectious because we would not get [these results] and there are a couple of options such as it may be an old infection or it may be reacting to some other virus he has in his system at the moment."
As part of its contact tracing efforts, ACT Health will be looking at Check In CBR and other ticketing data from the gallery to help identify people who were at the venues.
It is the first time the Check In CBR application has been used for contact tracing.
Extra staff had been rostered on at existing ACT testing clinics on Friday.
Dr Coleman said the EPIC drive through and Weston Creek walk-in would be best placed to meet demand and people could also attend the General Practice Respiratory Clinics to get tested.
She said they were monitoring whether an extra testing site would be needed.
"We're really closely monitoring whether we need to stand up an additional site, or whether we can manage within our own sites by searching the workforce," Dr Coleman said.
"The teams worked very diligently overnight to get the additional workforce on and available at the start of business this morning to make sure that we can try and respond to that initial surge."
Dr Coleman said neither venue would need to be deep cleaned, however, Via Dolce Pasticceria closed on Friday morning to undertake deep cleaning.
"We have not been directed by ACT Health to close, however, we have taken the immediate initiative as a further precaution to conduct deep cleaning and sanitising by professional cleaners this morning (Friday morning) with the view to reopen soon after," Via Dolce Pasticceria posted on Facebook.
The gallery is following ACT Health advice and is running during normal operating hours.
The Botticelli to Van Gogh Botticelli exhibition was sold out across the Queen's Birthday long weekend, including during the time period identified as of concern, when it was at its maximum capacity of 150 people per half hour.
The show was the most attended at the gallery in the past decade, with 200,975 people visiting throughout the exhibition period.
ACT Health advised residents to stay up to date by checking the ACT COVID-19 website regularly.
"The list of exposure locations will likely be updated as our investigations continue," a spokesperson said.
The public is encouraged to see the COVID-19 website for further information on getting tested.
"We will keep the community informed as more information becomes available," the spokesperson said.
ACT Health said this was a strong reminder that COVID-19 was still a risk and the importance of using the check in app.
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