WA extends COVID-19 testing to all hospitality workers
Under A new two week program, hospitality workers in Western Australia who are asymptomatic can receive a swab test for COVID-19. The State’s DETECT Snapshot testing will run from Thursday May 28 to Wednesday June 10, 2020.
Participation is voluntary for those on the list of groups, which also covers healthcare workers, WA Police staff, meat workers, supermarket and retail staff. These sectors were selected based on their frequent interaction with the public during COVID-19 or because other jurisdictions have documented outbreaks in those areas, as was the case with the Cedar Meats Australia facility and 12 McDonald’s outlets.
“DETECT Snapshot will see a testing blitz across different cohorts to help us get a better understanding of any COVID-19 that may be in the community and has not been detected,” said WA Health Minister Roger Cook.
“Now is not the time to rest on our laurels and the Snapshot will further improve our understanding of COVID-19 and provide the public with additional confidence that the chances of being exposed to the virus remains low.”
Unlike those who have presented for testing with symptoms, people who participate in the program will not need to isolate while they await results, which will be distributed via SMS.
Existing Public Health procedures, including isolation and identification of any contacts for follow up and quarantine, will apply to anyone who tests positive.
The Australian Hotels Association (AHA) WA has welcomed the announcement.
“Hospitality workers are at the frontline of community engagement and broader testing for COVID-19 is an important precondition for further relaxing restrictions and will help our industry move closer to a more extended level of operation,” said AHA WA Bradley Woods.
“We understand that in order for more restaurants, bars, pubs and taverns to re-open safely, the State Government needs accurate data and a better understanding of the prevalence of COVID-19 in the community.
“With access to more comprehensive data about whether the virus is still in the community, better decisions can be made about how and when we can return to more normal trading conditions.
“The AHA has worked closely with the State Government to support hospitality staff being included in the DETECT Snapshot Program, given the nature of the industry and the high number of people they come into contact each day.
“The hospitality industry is eager to see more of the existing restrictions relaxed as soon as possible – the DETECT program is key to ensuring this can occur.”
Image: James Carmody via ABC