Health authorities in South Australia are targeting the state’s multicultural communities with a trial coronavirus testing clinic launched today, as Afghan community leaders are praised for their help in managing a cluster of cases.
- Hundreds of people have emerged from isolation as a cluster of cases is contained
- Dr Nicola Spurrier says the help of Afghan community leaders was “key” to managing the cluster
- SA launched a trial pop-up testing clinic for multicultural communities today
State Chief Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said the pop-up clinic was established after working with the Afghan community this month, as authorities grappled to control a cluster of cases linked to Thebarton Senior College.
About 1,100 staff and students were forced to isolate after a growing cluster was identified in early August.
“When the Thebarton cluster became apparent, a key factor that enabled us to manage it was reaching out to the community leaders to ensure as much information as possible was available in a timely manner,” Professor Spurrier said.
The clinic launch follows Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton conceding on Friday that authorities were still not doing enough to reach key groups as part of the eastern state’s coronavirus response.
He said that “engagement with culturally and linguistically diverse communities (CALD) is central” to how Victoria proceeds in the pandemic.
Translation errors in Federal and Victorian COVID-19 advice materials were also labelled “nonsensical” and “laughable” by the Refugee Council of Australia’s Deena Yako, a native Arabic speaker, this week.
The pop-up testing site for South Australia’s CALD community, at which translators will be present, is the first of its kind to be trialled in the state.
SA Health met with more than 40 leaders from CALD backgrounds in July, to ensure all communities in South Australia were informed about coronavirus.
“In response, we determined it would be worthwhile to establish pop-up COVID-19 testing sites within CALD communities at critical times, where people who are unwell can be tested and also receive clear, informative and easy-to-understand health information,” Dr Spurrier said.
The meeting lead to “simple infographics” being developed in SA, to provide advice on how to get tested and how to safely isolate at home.
Dr Spurrier said more than 1,300 CALD community members had already been surveyed, but SA Health “identified the need” to develop alternate ways to engage with multicultural South Australians.
The trial is hoped to “pave the way” on how SA Health can engage with other CALD communities in establishing similar types of information and testing sites elsewhere.
The pop-up clinic is open from 11:00am to 3:00pm daily at Edinburgh North.
Hundreds released from isolation
The clinic launch followed this morning’s release of hundreds of people from isolation in Adelaide’s Ibis Hotel.
Last night, 94 close contacts of a woman who attended Thebarton Senior College were cleared after coronavirus testing returned negative results.
“I was extremely pleased for the state, but also for all those people who had the tests done,” Dr Spurrier said.
“I’m always slightly cautious — we’ve had the two weeks, which is that incubation period.
Health authorities declared no new cases of coronavirus today, limiting the current number of active cases in SA to seven.
One new case was declared in the state yesterday — a man in his 30s who flew into Adelaide on a repatriation flight from India on August 1.
SA Health said the case posed no risk to the public as the man had been in hotel quarantine since his return to Australia.
The positive result took South Australia’s total number of COVID-19 cases during the pandemic to 460.
More than 316,000 coronavirus tests have been carried out in SA to date.