SA Health response - COVID-19

To protect the health and wellbeing of all South Australians and help stop the spread of COVID-19, a range of measures have been implemented on the advice of our medical and public health experts.

The South Australian response is tailored to our local conditions and changes as the situation in our state changes.

South Australian emergency management directions and restrictions

Visit our response and restrictions page for information on the COVID-19 public health emergency declaration and links to the individual directions on the SA Government COVID-19 website.

State Control Centre – Health

A multi-agency State Control Centre – Health (SCC-H) within SA Health headquarters is part of a whole-of-government response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The SCC-H allows agencies to work together to enable a comprehensive statewide response. It includes representatives from key State Government agencies.

Integrated Inpatient Strategy

The SA Health Integrated Inpatient Strategy outlines how public, private and community health sectors would work together to manage a ‘worst case scenario’ outbreak.

This ensures South Australia is ready to manage any escalation.

Pandemic Arrangement

As outlined in the South Australian Emergency Management Act 2004, SA Health is the Hazard Leader for human disease and control agency for human epidemics, food and waterborne diseases.

For more information about the Viral Respiratory Disease Pandemic Response Plan (including COVID-19, influenza, SARS & MERS) visit the Pandemic Arrangement page.

Dedicated COVID-19 information and support

SA COVID-19 Information Line

The SA COVID-19 Information Line provides local information on COVID-19 to the South Australian community. It is available 9.00 am to 5.00 pm, seven days a week on 1800 253 787.

COVID-19 Mental Health Support

SA Health has established a network of telephone and online services to provide the South Australian community with mental health support during the COVID-19 pandemic. For information see the COVID-19 Mental Health Support page.

Testing

Active Surveillance Testing

COVID-19 testing in South Australia has been expanded to test specific groups of people who work with vulnerable populations, in high-risk settings or who may have less access to testing clinics. Increased testing helps us protect the community by quickly identifying new cases and preventing potential outbreaks.

The SA Health COVID-19 Active Surveillance Testing Operational Framework (PDF 445KB) details South Australia’s possible future active surveillance testing activities. The Framework outlines three key types of active surveillance testing components which meet the needs of the Australian National Disease Surveillance Plan for COVID-19, including testing of occupational groups, household contacts of confirmed cases, and random samples.

COVID-19 Clinics and Testing Centres

Dedicated COVID-19 Clinics and Testing Centres have been established in South Australia to test people for COVID-19. These clinics take pressure of our Emergency Departments and help to minimise the spread of infection.

Anyone in South Australia with symptoms of COVID-19, even if mild, should seek testing immediately.

Wastewater testing

SA Health has joined forces with SA Water to locate any possible COVID-19 cases in the community by analysing wastewater samples. Monitoring wastewater will identify the presence of non-infectious genetic material (viral RNA) to build a better understanding of virus transmission in South Australian communities.

Sampling is occurring at wastewater treatment plants across South Australia.

For more information see the COVID-19 Wastewater Surveillance Program page.

Rapid testing for urgent cases

Rapid testing capability provides a COVID-19 diagnosis in less than 60 minutes in cases where clinicians deem an urgent diagnosis is required.

This will enable clinicians in metropolitan and ten regional hospitals to make quick decisions around the treatment and care of patients deemed clinically urgent.

This type of testing is not currently available within COVID-19 testing clinics.

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COVID SAfe Check-In

COVID SAfe Check-In is a feature that has been added to the free mySA GOV app. If someone in South Australia tests positive to COVID-19, the COVID SAfe Check-In enables SA Health to quickly contact others who may have been exposed to the virus and stop the spread of COVID-19. More information can be found on the COVID SAfe Check-In page.

Travel advice

Find health advice on travel and travel restrictions on our South Australian travel advice page. Advice includes:

  • What to do before you book and travel
  • Links to SA and other state and territory COVID-19 travel restriction and higher risk area information
  • Requirements for travelling to SA and health exemptions
  • COVID Safe travel tips.

Workforce

Nursing and midwifery

SA Health has fast-tracked the recruitment of nurses and midwives with a range of skills, including intensive care, home care and aged care.

Up to 150 dedicated nurses and midwives have been recruited to the Rapid Response Nursing and Midwifery Service to deliver South Australia’s response to COVID-19. This includes a leadership team consisting of a Director of Nursing for the COVID-19 Rapid Response Nursing and Midwifery Service and a Nursing/Midwifery – Medi-hotel.

Extra front line responders

Almost 100 additional paramedics have been recruited into the South Australian Ambulance Service to support the frontline response to COVID-19.

A team of South Australian nurses, midwives, paramedics and contact tracers travelled to Melbourne to support Victoria’s effort to contain its COVID-19 outbreak.

Contact tracing team

The Communicable Disease Control Branch’s COVID-19 contact tracing team was boosted by up to 300 additional staff. The new recruits joined an existing team of experts, as well as medical students who are already assisting with contact tracing.

Additional support for COVID-19 patients at home

South Australians who test positive for COVID-19 will receive daily support throughout self-isolation from two new dedicated teams of GPs and nurses.

The COVID-19 GP Assessment Team and nurse-led SA Health Remote Monitoring Service will contact all patients who are well enough to self-isolate at home. This will ensure patients are connected to a healthcare professional so further treatment and support can be provided if symptoms worsen.

Dedicated SA Pathology team to protect aged care residents

A dedicated SA Pathology team has been assembled to respond to a COVID-19 outbreak in aged care and other residential facilities to provide greater protection for our most vulnerable citizens.

The team of domiciliary nurses and phlebotomists have the capacity to immediately test everyone in a facility if an outbreak occurs, helping to quickly identify cases, limit the spread and protect both vulnerable residents and staff.

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Personal protective equipment

Personal Protective Equipment Matrix

The COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment Assessment Matrix (PDF 196KB) has been developed for use in the care of hospital patients with a suspected and confirmed COVID-19 case and is mandatory for all SA Health hospital based staff.

It provides a consistent assessment protocol to determine whether testing for COVID-19 is required, what PPE is required and what type of room is appropriate for the patient.

PPE stock boost

SA Health partnered with Adelaide-based company Detmold to source 10 machines to manufacture 45 million N95/P2 medical respirator and Level 3 barrier protection surgical masks for use in South Australia.

South Australia has also secured more than 1.7 million pieces of PPE, including surgical masks and N95 masks, providing much needed protection for our staff.

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Medi-hotels and international arrivals

Dedicated COVID-19 medi-hotel

Tom’s Court in Adelaide will be South Australia’s 72-bed dedicated COVID-19 medi-hotel, including four rooms with apartment style facilities suitable for families, and two purpose-built disability suites.

All positive COVID-19 cases, and anyone expected to test positive, will be transferred to the facility. The central location allows for a rapid transfer to the Royal Adelaide Hospital if needed.

The facility will be exclusively staffed by SA Health and SA Police for nursing and security.

International arrivals and medi hotels

South Australia is part of a national agreement assisting with the repatriation of returning Australians. Managing these flight arrivals is a very organised and controlled process, supported by multiple government agencies. All arrivals are treated as potentially having COVID-19.

  • Everyone involved in the process wears appropriate Personal Protective Equipment at all times.
  • ‘Red zones’ are established within the airport to protect staff and other passengers.
  • When the flight arrives, passengers are greeted by border nurses to have their temperature taken and a welfare check and are asked to use hand sanitiser and put on a new face mask.
  • Then they go through the usual re-entry process such as customs, immigration and biosecurity.
  • People collect their own luggage and are escorted to a bus, which will take them to a medi-hotel to quarantine.
  • When they arrive at a medi-hotel they check-in and are provided with further information about quarantine requirements.
  • They are then escorted to their room where they will stay for 14 full days and nights.
  • All people are tested for COVID-19 on Day 1, Day 5 and Day 13.
  • They also have daily welfare checks and are tested if they become unwell.

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Hospital response

Dedicated COVID-19 facilities

The Royal Adelaide Hospital is the dedicated COVID-19 treatment facility for adults, Flinders Medical Centre for high-risk pregnant women and the Women’s and Children’s Hospital will treat paediatric patients.

Restrictions on hospital visits

To ensure the safety and welfare of people in our hospital and health services during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are some restrictions for visitors. People should check with individual hospitals for local and visitor information.

Flinders Medical Centre expansion

The $45.7 million expansion of the Flinders Medical Centre Emergency Department was brought forward by 4 months to provide extra capacity throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Women’s and Children’s Hospital boost

The Women’s and Children’s Hospital has opened more high dependency beds and is training around 80 nurses to work at an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) level.

An additional three High Dependency Unit beds had already been established with planning underway for an additional 10 ICU beds for South Australian women and children. 

COVID-19 community resources

Quick read resources

SA Health quick read resources contain important information about COVID-19 in an easy to read format.

Translated resources

A number of SA Health resources, including videos, audio recordings and fact sheets, have been translated in many languages.

COVID safe activities

Many community activities are still permitted in South Australia. SA Health has tips and resources to ensure activities are being conducted in a COVID safe way.

Public communication campaigns

Advertising campaigns that aim to educate the general public to help stop the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).