Tas records virus death, 643 new cases
Tasmania has recorded a third coronavirus death since reopening in mid-December, a 79-year-old woman who authorities say had "serious underlying health conditions".
Her death at the Launceston General Hospital was reported on Tuesday, taking the state's overall number of virus fatalities to 16.
"A 79-year-old woman with serious underlying health conditions has died with COVID being a contributing factor," Premier Peter Gutwein told reporters.
"My thoughts are with the families and loved ones of those who have passed away."
State Public Health Director Mark Veitch said he was not aware of the woman's vaccination status.
Two other deaths linked to COVID-19 were recorded on Friday and Saturday - one of them a 90-year-old female aged care resident who was unvaccinated.
The coroner is also investigating whether the virus was a contributing factor to a 36-year-old woman's death.
Tasmania reported 643 new cases on Tuesday, a marginal increase on Monday's figure of 619.
There are 5252 documented active infections across the state, continuing a downward trend since January 19.
Thirty-five people with COVID-19 are in hospital, with 15 of those being treated specifically for the virus. Three patients are in intensive care and one is on a ventilator.
Twenty cases are in hospital for unrelated medical conditions.
Dr Veitch said Tasmania was past its initial peak of community transmission.
"The trends we are seeing are reflecting a reduction in community transmission from the levels that we were experiencing earlier this month," he said.
"There's been a similar trend in most other states and territories."
Mr Gutwein announced close-contact exemptions would be allowed in more industries, including education, childcare and end-of-life care.
He said students aged 12 and over would have to wear masks on school buses when term one resumes on February 9.
Under the state government's return-to-school plans, masks are mandatory in high school classrooms but not primary school classrooms.
Meanwhile, Tasmania has cut the wait time for people aged 18 and over to get a booster shot from four months to three months. The change will be implemented from February 1.
More than 33 per cent of Tasmanians aged over 18 have had a booster shot.
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