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Operational protocol for COVID-19 testing of quarantine facility workers and other requirements (version 6)

  • V1. Effective 14 December 2020
  • V2. Effective 24 December 2020
  • V3. Effective 11 January 2021
  • V4. Effective 6 April 2021
  • V5. Effective 23 April 2021
  • V6. Effective 1 June 2021

Preface

  1. The operational protocol for COVID-19 testing of quarantine facility workers and other requirements (protocol) sets out the COVID-19 testing requirements for people working in or providing services at identified government-nominated accommodation such as quarantine hotels.

  2. The protocol is made, together with other measures being implemented, to protect the health of individuals working in or providing services for quarantine facilities and mitigate the risk of transmission of COVID-19 from quarantine facilities to the Queensland community.

  3. The protocol is only enforceable within Queensland.

  4. The protocol sets out requirements for routine surveillance testing, vaccination and personal protective equipment for people working in quarantine facilities but does not remove the requirement for an individual working in or providing services for the facility to comply with all other Public Health Directions and public health advice.

Guidance

A worker who is not tested in compliance with the schedule in this protocol must not attend work or provide a quarantine service until they are tested. A worker who does not consent to a COVID-19 test may be subject to a fine if the worker knowingly continues to provide quarantine services or attend work while untested. Workers are encouraged to discuss testing requirements with their respective employer or engagement agency such as Queensland Health, Queensland Police Service or the hotel operator. If a worker chooses not to be tested or is unable to be vaccinated, efforts should be made to redeploy the worker where possible, for example, to work at a hotel that is not a quarantine hotel or work in an area that is not a designated zone. A worker who refuses or is unable to wear a mask or is unvaccinated and knowingly enters a designated zone of a hotel may be subject to a fine or other penalty as outlined in the direction.

A. Application of protocol

  1. The operational protocol for COVID-19 testing of quarantine facility workers and other requirements is approved by the Chief Health Officer under the Requirements for Quarantine Facility Workers Direction (quarantine workers direction) or its successor.

  2. The protocol applies to all quarantine facility workers, hotel operators, transport operators and other entities.

  3. The protocol commenced on 14 December 2020 and:

    1. version 2 of the protocol commenced on 24 December 2020 and implemented surveillance testing for bus drivers transporting quarantined persons as a class of quarantine facility worker;

    2. version 3 of the protocol commenced on 11 January 2021 and implemented saliva screening testing for all quarantine facility workers every shift and broadened surveillance testing to all workers at identified quarantine facilities; and

    3. version 4 of the protocol commenced on 6 April 2021 and implemented mask wearing for quarantine facility workers and COVID-19 testing for two weeks after last working at an identified quarantine facility and while on leave. It also amends the title of the protocol; and

    4. version 5 of the protocol commenced on 23 April 2021. It clarified the process for quarantine facility workers if a saliva collection test is not made available to the worker before, during or after their shift and reflects the implementation of Transport Plan requirements for transport operators; and

    5. version 6 of the protocol commences on 1 June 2021 and implements P2/N95 mask requirements and eye protection in designated zones of hotels and mandatory vaccination requirements for quarantine facility workers.

B. Requirements for COVID-19 testing

COVID-19 testing – identified facilities

  1. The following are identified quarantine facilities for the purpose of surveillance COVID-19 testing under this protocol:

    1. a hotel accommodating quarantined persons; and

    2. at which Queensland Health has established a process for providing access to a COVID-19 test at the facility or access to a COVID-19 test at a place in the vicinity of the facility. Note: A hotel at which a quarantined person who is a member of the Australian Defence Force is residing is not an identified quarantine facility, unless it also has other non-Australian Defence Force quarantined persons residing there and a testing process has been established. A hotel that accommodates quarantined maritime crew may be an identified quarantine facility.

COVID-19 testing - workers

  1. Where access to testing is provided, a quarantine facility worker who is performing a quarantine service listed in Table 1 below at an identified quarantine facility is required to present to be tested for COVID-19:

    1. as specified in paragraph 11, if the worker has been vaccinated or started the vaccination process; or

    2. as specified in paragraph 12, If not vaccinated or started the vaccination process.

      1. Example: worker may be a new employee and not yet been vaccinated.

Table 1
Quarantine serviceType of activities
Health services or personal care services
  1. Any activity that involves the worker being physically present at an identified quarantine facility.

    Example: providing face to face medical care, wound care or assisting a person with showering.

Security services
  1. Monitoring and compliance of quarantined persons with quarantine requirements

  2. Marshalling groups of quarantined persons in common areas.

  3. Accompanying quarantined persons between guest rooms and common areas or other areas within the identified quarantine facility.

  4. Face to face contact of any duration with quarantined persons.

  5. Instructing and directing, or talking with, quarantined persons face to face for any duration.

  6. Any other activity that involves the worker being physically present at an identified quarantine facility.

Other services – all front and back of house hotel services and cleaning services
  1. Any service or work during the course of which a person is physically present at the identified quarantine facility including cleaning, laundry, maintenance, kitchen and food services, guest services, front of house, management or administration.

    Examples for paragraph (a):

    • Cleaning a quarantined person’s guest room
    • Cleaning a quarantined person’s guest room after the quarantined person has departed.
    • Handling rubbish or linen from a quarantined person’s guest room.
    • Handling items that have been handled by quarantine persons such as luggage.
    • Providing reception and check-in and check-out services
    • Any maintenance work such as repairing or maintaining lighting or air conditioning by a hotel employee
    • Gardening or landscaping on the hotel grounds
    • Preparing meals in the hotel kitchen for the consumption by guests or staff
    • Working as a hotel manager, finance, or administration worker where the work is physically located at the hotel
  1. A maintenance and repairs contractor who provides unscheduled or intermittent maintenance or repair services who enters a designated zone must be tested if directed by an emergency officer (public health).
  2. For clarity, a person who is only present at the facility to transport food or goods to or from the facility is not providing a quarantine service.

    Examples for paragraph (c): delivering food or alcohol for the hotel kitchen, delivering takeaway meals for guests where the meals are delivered outside the hotel, delivering clean linen to the hotel.

Other services – passenger transport services
  1. Driving, or assisting in driving, a quarantined person to or from the identified quarantine facility for a transport operator.

Note: a transport operator is endorsed by a government authority and must have a Transport Plan in the form approved by the Chief Health Officer.

Example: transporting an international arriving crew or passenger who is a quarantined person from the airport or port of entry to a quarantine hotel in a bus or in a taxi that is operating under an endorsed Transport Plan.

  1. quarantine facility worker has started the vaccination process after receiving one dose of a Pfizer or Astra Zeneca vaccine, and is vaccinated after receiving the second dose at the scheduled time.

    Note: The second dose of the Pfizer vaccine is required on or around 3 weeks after the first dose. The second dose of the Astra Zeneca vaccine is required on or around 12 weeks after the first dose.

  2. quarantine facility worker identified in paragraph 9 Table 1 who is vaccinated or who has started the vaccination process is to:

    1. be tested for COVID-19 with an oropharyngeal and deep nasal swab and screened for COVID-19 with a saliva collection test within seven days after first commencing work at an identified quarantine facility or within seven days after a facility becomes an identified facility; and

    2. continue to have a saliva collection test for each shift worked at the identified quarantine facility, which can be conducted before, during the course of, or after, each shift. If a saliva collection test is not made available to the worker before, during or after their shift, the worker must contact the Venue Manager or Health Manager of the identified quarantine facility to discuss how to access a make-up test; and

    3. if away for 7 days or more, use best endeavours to be tested for COVID-19 with an oropharyngeal and deep nasal swab at least every 7 days while away until 14 days have passed since the worker was last present at the identified quarantine facility.

      Notes: The requirement for an oropharyngeal and deep nasal swab while away from the hotel applies to all workers who are away, even if the worker has been vaccinated for COVID-19, as these workers will not be having a saliva test.

      The worker may present at the hotel or another testing location while away. A list of testing locations in Queensland and pathology testing forms for each nasal swab test required while a worker is away will be provided.

      A worker is away if they are absent from the facility because they are on planned or unplanned leave, have finished deployment at the facility, have permanently finished work at the facility or the worker is casual or part-time and is not rostered on to work. See Definitions – away.

  3. quarantine facility worker identified in paragraph 9 who is not vaccinated or who has not started the vaccination process is to:

    1. be tested for COVID-19 with an oropharyngeal and deep nasal swab and screened for COVID-19 with a saliva collection test within seven days after first commencing work at an identified quarantine facility or within seven days after a facility becomes an identified facility; and

    2. continue to be tested for COVID-19 with an oropharyngeal and deep nasal swab on a rolling 7-day testing cycle; and

      Note: an unvaccinated worker who will not be on-site on Day 7 of their cycle must ensure they have a nasal swab test on Day 6 or Day 8

    3. continue to have a saliva collection test for each shift worked at the identified quarantine facility, which can be conducted before, during the course of, or after, each shift. If a saliva collection test is not made available to the worker before, during or after their shift, the worker must contact the Venue Manager or Health Manager of the identified quarantine facility to discuss how to access a make-up test; and

    4. if away for 7 days or more, be tested for COVID-19 with an oropharyngeal and deep nasal swab on the last shift before being away for 7 days or more and on the first shift on return; and

      Note: the worker should present at their usual testing location at the facility on the last and first shifts for a nasal swab test.

    5. if away for 7 days or more, use best endeavours to be tested for COVID-19 with an oropharyngeal and deep nasal swab at least every 7 days while away until 14 days have passed since the worker was last present at the identified quarantine facility; and

      Notes: The requirement for an oropharyngeal and deep nasal swab while away from the hotel applies to all workers who are away, even if the worker has been vaccinated for COVID-19, as these workers will not be having a saliva test.

      The worker may present at the hotel or another testing location while away. A list of testing locations in Queensland and pathology testing forms for each nasal swab test required while a worker is away will be provided.

      A worker is away if they are absent from the facility because they are on planned or unplanned leave, have finished deployment at the facility, have permanently finished work at the facility or the worker is casual or part-time and is not rostered on to work. See Definitions – away.

  4. maintenance and repairs contractor must be tested in accordance with paragraphs 11 or 12 if directed by an emergency officer (public health) that routine surveillance testing is required.

    Note: see the requirement in paragraph 24 for these workers to follow infection control instructions.

  5. quarantine facility worker including a maintenance and repairs contractor must:

    1. comply with a direction given by an emergency officer (public health) in relation to the conduct of a test; and

    2. for a worker employed or engaged by the hotel operator, notify the hotel operator of complying with the requirement for a test; and

    3. for a worker employed or engaged by any other entity, notify the applicable other entity of complying with the requirement for a test; and

      Example: A person engaged by Queensland Police Service to provide a security overlay must notify QPS; a person working for a Hospital and Health Service to provide health care must advise the HHS.

    4. for a worker employed or engaged by a transport operator, notify the applicable transport operator of complying with the requirement for a test; and

    5. if not tested as required by paragraphs 11, 12 or 13 must not provide quarantine services or attend work at or for the identified quarantine facility or at any other government-nominated accommodation until they have been tested as required by this protocol. The person may attend the identified quarantine facility to be tested for COVID-19; and

    6. provide evidence of being vaccinated or started the vaccination process, if requested.

      Notes: An individual can provide evidence of vaccination in their immunisation history statement from the Australian Immunisation Register. An individual can obtain their immunisation history statement from the Australian Government using myGov, the Medicare mobile app or by calling the Australian Immunisation Register and requesting a statement to be posted. Information is available at: https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/services/medicare/australian-immunisation-register/how-get-immunisation-history-statement

Transitional period before testing commences

  1. The requirement for surveillance testing:

    1. in paragraph 11(a) and (b) and paragraph 12(a), (b) and (c) comes into effect as soon as access to testing has been established at the identified quarantine facility by, or on behalf of, Queensland Health, or immediately if testing has already been established when version 4 of this protocol commences; and

    2. for paragraph 11(c) and paragraph 12(d) and (e), two weeks after commencement of version 4 of this protocol; and

    3. in all other circumstances, immediately upon commencement of version 4 of this protocol.

Workers who do not have symptoms of COVID-19

  1. In accordance with the quarantine workers directionquarantine facility worker who is tested for COVID-19 in accordance with this protocol and who does not have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 is not required to isolate while awaiting a test result, unless they are required to isolate for another lawful reason or under another public health direction.

  2. An example of another reason to isolate is that the worker is determined by Queensland Health or by an emergency officer (public health) to be a close contact of a person diagnosed with COVID-19 and directed to isolate.

Workers who have symptoms of COVID-19

  1. In accordance with the quarantine workers direction a quarantine facility worker who develops symptoms consistent with COVID-19 must:

    1. if at work, immediately cease work; and

    2. immediately seek medical attention; and

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

  2. A worker can seek medical attention by contacting their usual doctor, by telephoning 13HEALTH and identifying themselves as a quarantine facility worker or by contacting emergency services if immediate medical attention is required for an emergency or urgent situation.

COVID-19 testing – employers and hotel operators

  1. The hotel operatortransport operator or other entity, that employs, contracts with, or otherwise engages a quarantine facility worker must take reasonable steps in relation to its quarantine facility workers to:

    1. inform workers of the requirement for COVID-19 testing and vaccination prior to the worker commencing duties at an identified quarantine facility; and

    2. permit access by COVID-19 testing staff; and

    3. require its quarantine facility workers to notify it of undertaking a test as required by this protocol; and

    4. support all workers to get tested, including those who are not performing duties at an identified quarantine facility or not performing duties outlined in Table 1.

  2. The hotel operatortransport operator or other entity, that employs or otherwise engages a quarantine facility worker must:

    1. keep records of information given to them under paragraph 20; and

    2. keep a weekly record of the name and employee number of its quarantine facility workers who have worked at or provided services or who will be working or providing services at the identified quarantine facility including the name and contact details of any maintenance and repairs contractor; and

    3. provide the records in paragraph 21(a) and (b) to Queensland Health when requested to assist with providing and planning for testing or, for a transport operator, to the other entity that engaged it; and

    4. provide the records in paragraph 21(b) to an emergency officer (public health) or contact tracing officer on request; and
      Examples: the Queensland Government department or agency that employs or engages a quarantine facility worker to provide health services or security services must keep and provide the records to Queensland Health on request. The hotel operator that employs, contracts with, or engages a worker to provide hotel services such as cleaning must keep and provide the records to Queensland Health on request. The transport operator that employs or engages bus drivers must keep and provide the records to the government agency that engaged it, which for example may be the Queensland Police Service, the Department of Transport and Main Roads or the Australian Defence Force.

    5. store the records securely and not use the records for any other purpose other than to provide to Queensland Health or an emergency officer (public health) or contact tracing officer upon request.

C. Requirements for Personal Protective Equipment

  1. The hotel operator or other entity, that employs, contracts with, or otherwise engages a quarantine facility worker must use its best endeavours by 15 June 2021 to:

    1. ensure its workers who enter a designated zone are fit tested for a PFR or P2/N95 respirator; and

    2. ensure its workers are trained in how to perform fit checking; and

    3. ensure its workers wear a PFR or P2/N95 respirator at all times when in a designated zone.

      Note: a transport operator must comply with the personal protective equipment and cleaning requirements under its endorsed Transport Plan.

  2. The Hospital and Health Service which provides oversight of the Health Emergency Operation Centre (HEOC) or the Queensland Health venue manager servicing an identified quarantine facility is responsible for working with the hotel operator or other entity to provide fit testing.

  3. A quarantine facility worker must follow the instructions of the Queensland Health venue manager at the identified quarantine facility in relation to fit testing and wearing personal protective equipment when at the facility.

    Example: due to local circumstances the Queensland Health venue manager may determine that all workers are to wear surgical masks, including outside the designated zone of the hotel.

  4. quarantine facility worker must, when fit testing has been made available to them, wear a PFR or P2/N95 respirator and eye protection when in a designated zone of an identified quarantine facility whether or not a quarantined person or another person is also present. Until 15 June 2021, a quarantine facility worker who is waiting for fit testing may enter a designated zone wearing a surgical mask, eye protection and other personal protective equipment as instructed by the Queensland Health venue manager.

  5. quarantine facility worker who is unable to wear a surgical mask, PFR or P2/N95 respirator or eye protection, for example due to a physical or mental health illness or condition, must not enter a designated zone.

    Note: an individual may not be able to be fit tested and achieve an adequate seal due to the shape of their face. Transport drivers will not be required to be fit tested unless they enter the designated zone.

  6. maintenance and repairs contractor presenting for work in a designated zone must notify a Queensland Health employee at the identified quarantine facility and follow their instructions in relation to the wearing of personal protective equipment and other infection control measures.

    Note: a maintenance and repairs contractor who does not wear a mask as required, or who is exposed due to a breach in mask wearing, may be directed by an emergency officer (public health) to undertake surveillance testing under paragraph 11 or 12.

D. Requirements for Vaccination against COVID-19

  1. By 15 June 2021, a quarantine facility worker must have started the vaccination process or be vaccinated to continue working in an identified quarantine facility, or before commencing work in the facility. A worker who has started the vaccination process must complete the vaccination process by receiving the second dose at the scheduled time.

    Note: A worker has started the vaccination process for COVID-19 by receiving one dose of a Pfizer or Astra Zeneca vaccine, and is vaccinated after receiving the second dose at the scheduled time.

  2. A quarantine facility worker who is unable to be vaccinated may continue to work in an identified quarantine facility but must not work in or enter a designated zone.

    Notes: an individual may not be able to be vaccinated due to a medical contraindication.

    A worker providing transport services who does not enter the identified facility is not required to be vaccinated but must strictly follow all conditions under the transport operator’s endorsed Transport Plan.

  3. A quarantine facility worker must provide evidence of receiving a vaccination to an emergency officer (public health) if requested.

Definitions

  1. Away means a day that a quarantine facility worker is absent from the facility because they are on planned or unplanned leave, have finished deployment at the facility, have permanently finished work at the facility or the person works casually or part-time and is not rostered on to work.

  2. Contact tracing officer means a person appointed as a contact tracing officer under the Public Health Act 2005.

  3. Designated zone means any of the following areas in an identified quarantine facility:

    1. a floor where a quarantined person is or has been accommodated;

    2. a corridor connected to a quarantined person's room; and

    3. a lift, stairwell or other area that provides access to a floor where a quarantined person is or has been accommodated; and

    4. an area identified by the Queensland Health venue manager such as a foyer or other area during the period of time a quarantined person is present in the area.

  4. 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 includes public health officers, police, Transport Inspectors, Senior Network Officers, and fire and emergency services personnel and includes emergency officers (general) and emergency officers (medical).

  5. Face mask means a single use surgical mask, P2/N95 mask or a cloth face mask with three layers that covers the nose and mouth but does not include a face shield.

  6. Government-nominated accommodation has the same meaning as specified in the Requirements for Quarantine Facility Workers Direction.

    For reference the definition is replicated here: 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.
      Example: a farm at which seasonal workers have been directed to quarantine or a home at which a person has been directed to isolate is not government-nominated accommodation.

  7. Hotel operator as the same meaning as in the Requirements for Quarantine Facility Workers Direction which means a person, business or entity that owns, controls, or operates government-nominated accommodation.

  8. Identified quarantine facility see paragraph 8.

  9. Isolate has the same meaning as in the Requirements for Quarantine Facility Workers Direction which is:

    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. avoid immediate injury or illness or to escape a risk of harm; or

        Example — escaping a risk of harm related to sexual or domestic and family violence.

      2. in the event of an emergency situation; or

        Example — a person leaving isolation to go to a hospital for emergency medical treatment or due to an emergency at the premises such as fire or flood.

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

    4. must wear a face 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; and

    5. must not permit any other any other person to enter their home or the premises unless that other person:

      1. usually resides at the premises or is residing at the premises for the purpose of quarantine or isolation at home; or

      2. is required to enter the premises in an emergency; or

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

  10. Maintenance and repairs contractor means an individual who provides construction, repair, or maintenance services on an unscheduled or intermittent basis.
    Examples: repairing or maintaining a lift, providing plumbing services to repair a broken toilet, replacing damaged carpet.

  11. Other entity means:

    1. a Queensland Government department or agency; or

    2. the Australian Defence Force.

  12. Quarantine facility worker has the same meaning as in the Requirements for Quarantine Facility Workers Direction which is an individual, including an employee, volunteer or contractor who performs a quarantine service at government-nominated accommodation.

  13. Quarantined person has the same meaning as in the Requirements for Quarantine Facility Workers Direction which is a person who has been directed to quarantine by an emergency officer (public health) under section 362H of the Public Health Act 2005.

  14. Quarantine service has the same meaning as in the Requirements for Quarantine Facility Workers Direction and means the services designated in Table 1.

  15. Surgical mask means a single use surgical mask with a minimum level 2 barrier protection level under the Australian Standard (AS 4381:2015) that covers the nose and mouth.

  16. 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.

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

    Note: A transport operator must be endorsed by a government authority and have a Transport Plan in the form approved by the Chief Health Officer.

Dr Jeannette Young
Queensland Chief Health Officer
Queensland Health
28 May 2021

Last updated: 31 May 2021