SA Sanitary planning of COVID quarantine camps in the event of an epidemic

EXCLUSIVE | SA Health is seeking to urgently set up quarantine facilities that can accommodate more than 100 people in Renmark, Port Augusta, Port Lincoln and Mt Gambier due to concerns about vulnerable and indigenous people unable to self-quarantine at home during of a COVID-19 outbreak.

SA Health on Monday opened a tender calling for expressions of interest from organizations that can provide “services for the effective quarantine of vulnerable people who have been identified as close contacts” and “culturally appropriate and safe”.

“It was identified that facilities would be required for the quarantine of individuals who otherwise could not be quarantined at home due to their living conditions,” the procurement document states.

“It has been identified that various sites will be required for use as facilities, due to the vulnerability of people in several communities, including Port Augusta, Port Lincoln, Renmark and Mount Gambier.”

The tender specifically refers to 14-day quarantine periods – mandatory for unvaccinated close contacts – as opposed to the seven-day quarantine requirement for vaccinated contacts.

He goes on to say that the quarantine facilities will be in the form of cabins.

“Full cabin cleaning should take place at the end of the two-week quarantine period,” the document states.

“The time between one group leaving the facility and the next will be relatively short, so cleanup and repairs will need to be well coordinated.

“If there is a positive COVID case, the cabin will require deep cleaning by an SA Health approved contractor.”

Any patient requiring hospital assessment at the facilities will be transferred to Berri Hospital’s emergency department in the Riverland, the tender says, while workers who test positive will be transferred to a medi-hotel in Adelaide with other employees in their “cohort group”.

The tender specifies that the facilities would be overseen by SA Health but managed “day to day” by the successful bidder, who will be responsible for services such as translation, cultural support, religion, cleaning requirements and general administration.

Among the “mandatory criteria” for applicants are a “ability to accommodate 100 or more residents” and an “ability to mobilize no later than December 10, 2021”.

Applications for the call for tenders close on Friday.

Regarding the schedule for setting up the facilities, the call for tenders specifies that the “locations will be available from dates yet to be determined, with a preference from November 30 to June 30”.

“With the easing of border restrictions from November 23, 2021, it is anticipated that COVID-19 could potentially impact regional and vulnerable communities,” the document continues.

“The purpose of this market is to solicit proposals from interested organizations that could offer suitable quarantine facilities for communities that have been identified as having large populations of vulnerable community members or expecting high numbers of travelers , which can make home quarantine difficult.”

In the “context” section of the document, SA Health raises specific concerns regarding “the vulnerability of Indigenous peoples and the community to the adverse effects of COVID-19 due to higher rates of pre-existing and undiagnosed chronic conditions… generally poorer housing, overcrowding and high mobility”.

The cultural aspect of quarantine is important and should be recognized as an essential part of any planning process.

“Additionally, the socio-cultural practices of some Indigenous communities may put them at higher risk of transmission as they involve mobilization and participation in community cultural activities,” the document states.

As of Sunday, just 46.7 per cent of South Australia’s Aboriginal population over the age of 16 are fully vaccinated, more than 10 points behind the national average for Aboriginals and more than 30 points behind the average of the state of South Australia.

“The cultural aspect of quarantine is important and should be recognized as an essential part of any planning process with respect to the worker’s ability to adapt, socialize and maintain good mental health,” says the call for tenders.

SA Health’s concern that vulnerable close contacts in regional communities may not be able to safely quarantine comes after the state today opened to more than 30,000 fully immunized travelers from Victoria, New South Wales and the ACT.

The state government announced over the weekend that its new HealthCheckSA app has been designed to monitor up to 50,000 people in home quarantine.

In response to questions from InDailya spokesperson for SA Health said they were “is currently exploring options for regional quarantine facilities that will allow for rapid response to a COVID-19 outbreak.”

“The vast majority of COVID-positive people will be treated at home via virtual care, if necessary, with only the most vulnerable cases – around 10% of cases – requiring care in a quarantine facility,” the spokesperson said. .

“We anticipate that only 5% of cases will require hospitalization.

“Critically ill COVID-positive patients in regional areas will continue to be transferred to the Royal Adelaide Hospital for treatment in accordance with existing healthcare processes.”

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