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COVID-19 Testing for Quarantine Facility Workers Direction (No. 3)

Summary

Effective from: 1.45pm AEST 11 January 2021

Posted: 11 January 2021

Direction from Chief Health Officer in accordance with emergency powers arising from the declared public health emergency

Public Health Act 2005 (Qld)

Section 362B

On 29 January 2020, under the Public Health Act 2005, the Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services made an order declaring a public health emergency in relation to coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The public health emergency area specified in the order is for ‘all of Queensland’. Its duration has been extended by regulation to 31 March 2021 and may be further extended.

Further to this declaration, l, Dr Jeannette Young, Chief Health Officer, reasonably believe it is necessary to give the following direction pursuant to the powers under s 362B of the Public Health Act 2005 to assist in containing, or to respond to, the spread of COVID-19 within the community.

Preamble

The purpose of this Direction is to protect the health of the community and individuals working in quarantine facilities by mitigating the risk of the spread of COVID-19 through routine surveillance COVID-19 testing of workers.

Citation

  1. This Public Health Direction may be referred to as the COVID-19 Testing for Quarantine Facility Workers Direction.

Revocation

  1. The COVID-19 Testing for Quarantine Facility Workers Direction (No. 2) made on 24 December 2020 is revoked from the time of publication of this Direction.

Commencement

  1. This Public Health Direction applies from Monday 11 January 2021 until the end of the declared public health emergency, unless revoked or replaced.

PART 1 - DIRECTION - COVID-19 SURVEILLANCE TESTING OF WORKERS

  1. This Direction applies to quarantine facility workers and to the hotel operators, Queensland government departments or agencies and the Australian Defence Force that employ or engage the services of quarantine facility workers in government-nominated accommodation.

  2. A quarantine facility worker must, where access to testing has been established at government-nominated accommodation by, or on behalf of, Queensland Health and in accordance with the operational protocol for COVID-19 testing of quarantine facility workers approved by the Chief Health Officer:

    1. undertake surveillance testing for COVID-19 in accordance with the protocol; and

    2. for workers employed or engaged by the hotel operator, notify the hotel operator of compliance with the requirements of the protocol; and

    3. for workers employed or engaged by a Queensland Government department or agency or the Australian Defence Force, notify the applicable entity of compliance with the requirements of the protocol; and

    4. for workers employed or engaged by a transport operator, notify the operator of compliance with the requirements of the protocol; and

    5. if not tested under paragraph (a), not attend the government-nominated accommodation or provide a quarantine service until in compliance with the protocol; and

    6. otherwise comply with the requirements in the protocol applying to quarantine facility workers.

    Notes: The protocol includes relevant transitional periods before testing is required to commence.

    A worker who does not consent to a COVID-19 test may be subject to a fine if the worker knowingly continues to attend the government-nominated accommodation, or provide a quarantine service such as driving overseas arrivals to the quarantine hotel, while untested.

  3. A quarantine facility worker who is tested for COVID-19 in accordance with paragraph 5 and who does not have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 is not required to self-isolate while awaiting a test result unless there is another lawful reason for them to isolate.

    Example: a quarantine facility worker may be directed to self-isolate for another reason such as being identified as a close contact of a person with COVID-19.

  4. If a quarantine facility worker develops symptoms consistent with COVID-19, they must:

    1. immediately seek medical attention; and

    2. be tested for COVID-19 and self-isolate until a negative test result is received and they are symptom-free; and

    3. comply with other requirements in the operational protocol for COVID-19 of testing quarantine facility workers approved by the Chief Health Officer

PART 2 – HOTEL OPERATORS, TRANSPORT OPERATORS AND OTHER ENTITIES ENGAGING QUARANTINE FACILITY WORKERS

  1. The following must take reasonable steps to comply with the operational protocol for COVID-19 testing of quarantine facility workers approved by the Chief Health Officer:

    1. hotel operator that employs, contracts with, or otherwise engages the services of a quarantine facility worker;

    2. a Queensland Government department or agency that employs, contracts with, or otherwise engages the services of a quarantine facility worker;

    3. the Australian Defence Force where employing or otherwise engaging the services of a quarantine facility worker; and

    4. a transport operator that is engaged by a Queensland government department or agency to transport quarantined persons to or from government-nominated accommodation.

      Example: the Queensland Government department or agency that employs or engages a quarantine facility worker to provide health services, transport services or security services must comply with the protocol. The hotel operator that engages a worker to provide hotel services such as cleaning, including contracting with a third party to provide the cleaning, must comply with the protocol.

PART 3 – OTHER MATTERS

  1. An emergency officer (public health) can give a direction to a quarantine facility worker about the conduct of a COVID-19 test.

  2. An emergency officer (public health) can require the hotel operator or transport operator to comply with additional directions if the emergency officer believes the direction is reasonably necessary to assist in containing, or to respond to, the spread of COVID-19 within the community.

PART 4 – DEFINITIONS

  1. Definitions used in this Direction are in Schedule 1.

PART 5 – PENALTIES

A person to whom the direction applies commits an offence if the person fails, without reasonable excuse, to comply with the direction.

Section 362D of the Public Health Act 2005 provides:

Failure to comply with public health directions

  • A person to whom a public health direction applies must comply with the direction unless the person has a reasonable excuse.
  • Maximum penalty—100 penalty units or 6 months imprisonment.

Dr Jeannette Young
Chief Health Officer

10 January 2021

Published on the Queensland Health website at 1.45pm 11 January 2021.

SCHEDULE 1 — DEFINITIONS

For the purposes of this Public Health Direction:

Emergency officer (public health) means an emergency officer appointed under the Public Health Act 2005.

Note: Emergency officers appointed under the Public Health Act 2005 include public health officers and police and includes emergency officers (medical) and emergency officer (general).

Government-nominated accommodation means a hotel or other accommodation premises at which a quarantined person is residing but for the purpose of this Direction does not include:

  1. a home residence; or

  2. a military base, military property or Australian Defence Force nominated quarantine hotel.

    Example: A hotel at which a person arriving from overseas has been directed to quarantine is government-nominated accommodation. A farm at which seasonal workers have been directed to quarantine or a home at which a person has been directed to quarantine is not government-nominated accommodation.

Hospital means:

  1. a hospital, as defined in schedule 2 to the Hospital and Health Boards Act 2011; or

  2. a private health facility, as defined in section 8 of the Private Health Facilities Act 1999; or

  3. a multi-purpose service, as defined in section 104 of the Subsidy Principles 2014 made under section 96-1 of the Aged Care Act 1997 (Cth).

Hotel operator means the person, business or entity that owns, controls or operates government-nominated accommodation.

Quarantine facility worker means an individual, including an employee, volunteer or contractor who performs a quarantine service at government-nominated accommodation.

Quarantine service means a service or work of any kind during the course of which a person is physically present at government-nominated accommodation, or a service in relation to government-nominated accommodation, which is identified in the operational protocol for COVID-19 testing of quarantine facility workers approved by the Chief Health Officer including:

  1. health;

    Example: providing medical care to or taking a swab for COVID-19 testing from a quarantined person

  2. personal care;

    Example: assisting a quarantined person with a disability with personal care needs such as showering

  3. security;

    Example: monitoring and directing the movement of a quarantined person within the government-nominated accommodation

  4. cleaning;

    Example: cleaning a guest room at which a quarantined person is residing or has resided including after the quarantined person has departed

  5. any other service identified in the operational protocol for COVID-19 testing of quarantine facility workers approved by the Chief Health Officer.

    Example: providing check in or check out services for a quarantined person, preparing meals for consumption by staff or guests, maintaining hotel premises, or driving a bus transporting quarantined persons

Quarantined person means an individual who has been directed to quarantine by an emergency officer (public health) under section 362H of the Public Health Act 2005.

Example: an individual who has arrived from overseas and has been directed to quarantine for 14 days at a hotel under the Self-quarantine for Persons Arriving in Queensland from Overseas Direction (No.6) or successor.

Residential aged care facility means a facility at which accommodation, and personal care or nursing care or both, are provided to a person in respect of whom a residential care subsidy or a flexible care subsidy is payable under the Aged Care Act 1997 of the Commonwealth, or funding is provided under the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program.

Self-isolate means:

  1. the person is to travel directly to premises that are suitable to reside in and remain in those premises until a negative test result is received and they are symptom-free; or

  2. travel directly to, or remain at, a hospital for medical treatment, and following treatment and discharge from the hospital, travel directly to premises that are suitable to reside in and remain in those premises until a negative test result is received and they are symptom-free; and

  3. must not leave the premises except to:

    1. obtain essential medical care or essential medical supplies where alternative delivery arrangements are not reasonably practicable;

    2. avoid injury or escape a risk of harm; or

    3. in the event of an emergency situation; or

    4. as otherwise permitted or required under a direction given by the person by an emergency officer (public health); and

  4. must wear a protective mask whenever directed to do so by an emergency officer (public health) and when leaving isolation as permitted by paragraph (c),unless it is not practicable because of the emergency situation or the need to avoid immediate injury or risk of harm.

Shared disability accommodation service means a service, including the forensic disability service under the Forensic Disability Act 2011, where:

  1. four or more people with disability reside with people who are not members of their family; and

  2. the residents share enclosed common living areas within the facility whether inside or outside, and

  3. the residents are provided with disability supports within the facility.

Symptoms consistent with COVID-19 means fever or history of fever, symptoms of acute respiratory infection (cough, shortness of breath, sore throat), loss of smell, loss of taste, runny nose, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting or fatigue.

Transport operator means the person, business or entity that owns, controls or operates the bus or coach service that is engaged by a Queensland government department or agency to transport quarantined persons to or from government-nominated accommodation.

Last updated: 11 January 2021

Understanding this Direction

Information to help you understand what this Direction means for residents of aged care facilities, family members and visitors.

Find out more

Operational protocol for COVID-19 testing of quarantine facility workers

This protocol sets out the COVID-19 testing requirements for people working in or providing services at identified government-nominated accommodation such as quarantine hotels and other quarantine facilities.