Frequently Asked Questions
A quarantine worker is any person whose employment involves having contact with a person who must quarantine under any of the CHO Directions including, but not limited to, a person who:
- for the purposes of work, enters a quarantine facility as specified in the CHO Directions (No. 55) or any subsequent Directions that replace and substantially correspond to these Directions;
- works at a commercial visitor accommodation being used as a suitable place to quarantine under the CHO Directions (No 49) 2020, or any subsequent Directions that replace and substantially correspond to these Directions;
- works at or supports a farm that has workers who must quarantine
- works at a place approved by the CHO for the purposes of quarantine
- provides periodic services to a quarantine facility
- transports a person to a quarantine facility,
- transports a person from a quarantine facility if the quarantine period is not yet completed,
- screens a person who must quarantine at an airport or a border of the NT, and
- undertakes physical compliance checks of a person in quarantine.
Polymerase chain reaction is a type of test used to detect COVID-19. PCR are considered the gold standard for detecting the presence of the COVID-19 virus.
PCR tests can be performed on a variety of different specimen types. The most common specimen collection method is a deep nasal and throat swab. PCR testing may also be performed on a sputum or saliva sample/swab.
A person’s workplace may have its own policy on PCR testing. Workers should speak to their manager about testing arrangements for their organisation before making their own arrangements.
A swab for a PCR test can be collected by a healthcare worker or self-collected. Once collected, they should be dropped at a designated facility such as a Pandemic clinic or Respiratory clinic, or at a designated drop-off site within the Quarantine facility.
Workers can continue to work, unless they have been notified of a positive COVID-19 result. A positive COVID-19 test result must be reported to their employer immediately. Workers and employers should follow the directions of the Centre for Disease Control (CDC).
Most test results will be available within 24 hours. In some regional centres it may take 2-3 days to get results.
If the result is positive, the worker will receive a call from a public health doctor or nurse who works at the Centre for Disease Control. The worker must follow the directions given by CDC as to what to do next.
The CDC will notify a negative result by text message or email (if requested).
If a test is missed the worker must get a test as soon as possible after the missed day and inform their employer.
CHO Directions are law and it is an offence to contravene a direction of the CHO. If a quarantine worker fails to comply with the COVID-19 testing regime, they will be directed into mandatory, supervised quarantine and will remain in quarantine for 14 days from the time of non-compliance.
There are no risks associated with frequent testing. A worker’s nose should not be affected.
A worker who develops symptoms should self quarantine until the results of their test are known. They should inform their employer as soon as possible and not return to work until they have a negative result.
Not all persons who contract COVID-19 show symptoms. Testing is shown to be an effective early warning detection tool. The test will allow health authorities to identify cases and conduct contract tracing before people have symptoms.
Any person who works in a quarantine environment is at risk of becoming infected with the COVID-19 virus. The NT Government has implemented robust protective measures for quarantine workers to mitigate the risks and safeguard the NT community. Regular testing of quarantine workers is an additional step in the infection control measures currently in place to minimise the risks.
A worker should discuss any further questions with their employer or call the NT COVID-19 Hotline on 1800 490 484.
Globally the number of COVID-19 cases has increased. As a result, there has been an increase in the number of travellers in quarantine testing positive to COVID-19. Testing quarantine staff who are more likely to have contact with someone with COVID-19 will increase the safety of staff, their families and the community. This measure is a recommendation of the Australian Health Principal Protection Committee (AHPPC) and delivers another layer of protection on top of the very effective infection control measures the Territory has in place.
All test results and cases will remain confidential and information only used and disclosed in accordance with privacy legislation.
If you have any questions please call 1800 490 484.