More than 10,000 federal public servants had COVID-19 over summer, new data from the Australian Public Service Commission shows.
In early December, before the Omicron wave, there had been a total of 574 COVID-19 cases in the APS, but this figure jumped to 12,204 active and recovered cases by February 11 this year.
The figures reflect the soaring caseload of COVID-19 cases at the start of this year, when cases peaked around 120,000 a day in January and a loosening of restrictions coincided with the arrival of the more infectious Omicron variant.
The public service data is the most recent, with statistics from the intervening weeks not yet available. The APS has around 154,000 direct employees.
An APSC spokesperson told The Mandarin the commission did not collect data on what these thousands of positive cases had meant for overall service delivery and productivity in the sector.
“Individual agencies monitor the impact of COVID-19 on their workforce to ensure the continued delivery of critical functions,” the spokesperson said.
“The APSC is not aware of COVID infections causing significant disruptions to workplaces.”
In the fortnight ending on December 3, 2021, the APS recorded 74 new COVID-19 cases. On February 11, 2022, the APS had recorded 1560 cases in the preceding fortnight.
The APSC tweaked its working from home guidance in mid-January amid calls for it to provide consistent and updated advice to respond to the new variant.
This advice has continued to stand as public servants return to offices more regularly from this month.