Coronavirus cases have jumped to record levels in the Northern Territory after the inclusion of more rapid antigen test results.
The Territory reported 626 infections on Thursday along with an increase in the number of people in hospital.
It also revised up Wednesday's case numbers to 778, a record daily total, after including more RAT results, prompting Health Minister Natasha Fyles to urge people to report their tests as soon as possible.
The minister said 95 people were in hospital across the Territory, a rise of 11, with four of those in intensive care.
She has also revealed the death of a man in Tennant Creek who tested positive for the virus.
However, she said health officials had indicated the man died of a cardiac arrest and was not being considered a COVID-19 death at this stage.
Deputy chief health officer Charles Pain said the increase in hospitalisations had been expected but authorities "wouldn't want to see it rise much further".
"Our health services are meeting that demand, they've been preparing for this and planning for this," Dr Pain said.
"They're working very hard at this time. They're clearly managing a challenging situation and they're managing it very well."
Ms Fyles said the government was comfortable with the level of hospitalisations but remained concerned at low regional testing rates.
"We've stabilised those case numbers over the past couple of weeks, and that's really important in flattening that curve," the minister said.
"But overall, our testing rates in central Australia are pretty low. They were low yesterday.
"So while we're reporting just a handful of cases in communities we really need people to come forward to be tested to remain confident that we are on top of things."
Ms Fyles said one area of concern was Laramba, 200 kilometres west of Alice Springs, where 17 cases were detected from just 25 tests.
A three-day lockdown imposed on Monday for the Milikaptiti community in the Tiwi Islands has also been extended until Sunday afternoon after an escalation in case numbers with the outbreak there rising to 84.
Similarly, more cases were reported from the Alice Springs prison with the outbreak among inmates and staff rising by six to 128.
Australian Associated Press
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