Major boost for coronavirus contact tracing

01 Apr 2020
Major boost for coronavirus contact tracing

The Communicable Disease Control Branch’s contact tracing team will be boosted by up to 300 additional staff as part of the Marshall Government’s strong plan to protect South Australians from the impacts of coronavirus.


Up to 150 staff will be recommissioned from other public servant roles to boost the contact tracing team immediately, while up to another 150 will be ready for surge capacity if the caseload escalates.


The decisive action follows a direction from Premier Steven Marshall to activate the Public Sector Mobilisation Policy to ensure the state’s resources are best utilised during the pandemic.


“The additional contact tracing staff will further improve South Australia’s world class COVID-19 containment strategy that underpins our strong plan to protect South Australians during the coronavirus pandemic,” said Premier Marshall.


“The CDCB has done a magnificent job and the State Liberal Government is intent on making sure they have the resources they need to track, isolate and stop the spread of the disease in the community.


“By extensive testing, diligent contact tracing and the whole community working as one through social distancing, washing our hands, avoiding non-essential outings and following the latest health advice we can slow the spread of this disease and save lives.”


Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade said South Australia’s ability to test and trace the coronavirus spread was world-leading.


“SA Pathology have already conducted more than 25,000 tests and with up to 300 additional staff to assist with contact tracing means we are well-placed to slow the spread of the virus,” said Minister Wade.


“Our ability to test in significant numbers gives us the ability to lessen the spread of the disease through immediate contact tracing and isolation of patients. This also gives us a clearer picture of the spread of the virus through our community and the capacity to target any burgeoning hotspots immediately.


“While coronavirus will challenge both our health and our economy, the Marshall Liberal Government will continue to roll out its strong plan to mitigate these impacts.”

Associate Professor Nicola Spurrier said the new recruits will join the existing team of around 140 experts, plus medical students who are already assisting with contact tracing.


“Contact tracing requires a high level of skill, and the assistance of additional public servants will be a welcome addition to the team,” Assoc Prof Spurrier said.


“However, confidentiality is a priority so we will ensure any new staff are fully trained and supervised, and that they adhere to the high-levels of patient confidentiality required in the role.”


Premier Marshall has appointed the Commissioner for Public Sector Employment, Erma Ranieri, as the Mobilisation Coordinator.


Ms Ranieri is working to identify available and suitable public sector employees for the contact tracing roles.


The new recruits will be required to have good problem solving, communication and negotiation skills.


SA Pathology have undertaken almost 27,5000 tests


There are 54 COVID-19 testing sites in South Australia, with 48 of them located in regional South Australia.


A drive through clinic opened at 9.00am in Tanunda this morning.


South Australia will have a contact tracing workforce of around 440 when the 300 additional members are recruited.