Our frontline staff across many agencies have played an integral part of the Northern Territory’s response to COVID-19; keeping our communities safe and saving lives.
Today, Saturday 26 September, is World Environmental Health Day, a day that recognises health employees on the frontline in particular, who play such a vital role in disease prevention and keeping the Territory safe from COVID-19.
Our Environmental Health Officers and Public Health Officers have been kept busy in 2020; In collaboration with Police, Environmental Health Officers continue to lead the public health compliance response to COVID-19 for the Northern Territory in accordance with the Chief Health Officer (CHO) Directions.
Team members are actively involved with the Border Control Unit, screening and interviewing passenger arrivals at the Darwin and Alice Springs airports to determine where people have been before arriving in the NT and prevent the risk of transmission in our community.
They also work with NT Police to investigate ‘persons of interest’ alleged to have breached the CHO Directions and locate hotspot arrivals (via plane, road or boat) who are overdue to arrive at their quarantine location.
Team members also assist to manage the environmental health at NT Quarantine Facilities and monitor COVID-19 Business Safety Plans and COVID-19 Community Event Management plans.
Environmental health members also conducted daily compliance checks of people earlier in the year when it was allowed at hotels, residential properties and hospitals to ensure they understood the requirements of quarantine and that there was no breach. Almost 30,000 quarantine compliance checks have been conducted including:
- Total Top End: 23,179
- Total Central Australia: 6,569
The Environmental Health team also continues working to promote COVID-19 safe principles of hand hygiene and physical distancing.
As noted by Natasha Fyles, Minister for Health:
“2020 is the year none of us expected, but a year the NT has truly stood up and led in relation to our COVID-19 response.
“We’re the safest place in Australia and our frontline employees have played an integral role in ensuring the safety and wellbeing of Territorians.
“Environmental and Public Health staff have been called on like never before, we’ve even employed 100 extra full-time staff during the pandemic to assist our response, knowing COVID-19 won’t be simply disappearing anytime soon.
“I thank all our Environmental and Public Health staff on World Environmental Health Day for their work in ensuring our safety out on the frontline.”