Management of COVID quarantine facilities

In March 2021, the Department of Primary Industries and Regions (PIRSA), on behalf of the previous South Australian Government, contracted Humanihut Pty Ltd to provide COVID-19 quarantine facility management services in regional South Australia for short-term workers from several Pacific Island countries.

For the South Australian Government and the various agencies involved with the program, the priority was to ensure that the almost 800 workers were provided with comfortable accommodation and culturally appropriate daily support throughout the- then mandatory 14-day quarantine period.

The “Seasonal Worker Quarantine Facility” was established at the Paringa Resort located at Renmark South Australia which is a privately owned commercial resort with cabin style accommodation consisting of twenty-eight (28) two- and three- bedroom cabins. Humanihut liaised with the Paringa owner/operators to effect handover of the complex, and oversaw the fit out of the cabins with appropriate furniture and effects in accordance with SA Health and PIRSA guidelines on cohort population segregation requirements during quarantine.

Humanihut contracted Aspen Medical to provide a dedicated team of onsite health professionals and clinicians who delivered on-site, culturally sensitive health support for residents, first aid support to staff, and COVID-19 testing for residents and staff. The rostered testing of every worker was managed by Humanihut and occurred on days 5 and 12 of each quarantine period. Aspen provided a Clinical Nurse Lead to represent SA Health at the facility and as a link between SA State Control Centre – Health (SCC-H) and site management.

Prior to declaring the facility at full operational capability, Humanihut undertook a series of rehearsals to test operational and emergency procedures:

·       Emergency response rehearsal (i.e. Medical emergency, fire, intruder)

·       Actions On’ rehearsal (i.e. Missing resident, isolation/conflict response)

·       PPE ‘donning & doffing’

Humanihut provided each resident with a welcome pack, boxed meal, and drink on arrival at Adelaide Airport prior to the commencement of the four-hour bus trip to Paringa. On arrival at the facility, residents underwent a process of reception, staging, on-warding movement (to allocated cabin), and induction (RSO&I). This process was managed and coordinated by Humanihut with input from supporting agencies.

A significant element to the success of this operation was the establishment, by Humanihut, of an efficient and effective catering team and kitchen facility. Due to the limited on-site cooking facilities at the resort, Humanihut sought and negotiated to lease a commercial kitchen facility in an existing community building. This facility had a fully functional commercial kitchen with cold storage and cool room facilities, and it was from here, the Humanihut catering team prepared meals and moved the food to the facility each mealtime. The timely and sometimes rapid delivery of prepared meals to the residents was a logistics function managed by Humanihut who in addition, sought to provide the residents with specific meal requests native to their country.

Humanihut Logistics provided dedicated 24-hour onsite logistics support to manage resident health, welfare, cultural, pastoral, entertainment, and occupational therapy needs, and they engaged 24-hour interpreters to assist the residents. Humanihut supplied each cohort of residents with activities specific to their country including the broadcast of religious services, spiritual devotions, dance, and exercise classes. At the conclusion of the resident’s quarantine, Humanihut managed the facility “deep clean” which occurred between each cohort.

Humanihut engaged contracted services to support sustainment operations throughout the program. The services engaged and managed by Humanihut included:

·       Thomson Linen Company: laundry & linen services

·       Veola: waste removal services (medical and general/organic waste)

·       Cleaning services

Humanihut demonstrated flexibility and a "can do" attitude when faced with changing requirements, whether responding to fluctuating guest numbers or tailoring facility management services to provide suitable solutions. Arrangements were transparent and managed professionally, timely, courteously and collaboratively.

From the overwhelming feedback I have received, the success of the three-month program can largely be attributed to the dedication and professionalism of Humanihut Logistics staff in understanding each cohort's cultural needs and ensuring that guests did not feel disconnected from home.

On behalf of PIRSA, I thank Humanihut Pty Ltd for the dedication and professionalism demonstrated to all agencies involved and for the care shown to each cohort of guests, resulting in exceptional facility management services and a highly successful program.

- Jo Collins, Executive Director – Industry, Strategy and Partnerships, Department of Primary Industries and Regions, South Australia

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