NT no longer lists covid exposure sites, increasing the wait time for PCR testing

The Northern Territory government stopped listing COVID-19 exposure sites this week, informing residents that they would be updated if there was a major outbreak or super-spreader event, but not about every area visited by an infected person.

NT Health has stated the reason for the policy change Coronavirus is now widespread in the region.

People still have to check-in wherever they go, and will receive automatic notification if a positive case is in the same place at the same time.

The move has made Palmerston mother Christy Bambach uncomfortable.

“The current outbreak here is huge; I can understand why contact tracers are struggling,” Ms Bambach said.

“But the lack of information is a matter of concern.”

Just over a week ago today, after seeing the number of exposure sites listed online begin to decline, Ms. Bambach opened a Facebook group to share information.

It has already attracted more than 1,200 members.

The onus is now on the individuals to check in and make sure they are safe.(ABC News: Che Chorley)

“Over the past two days, we’ve just broken down with requests, and I don’t think the government has reported exposure sites,” Ms. Bambach said.

“It’s really nice to be able to calm some people’s nerves, rather than surprise them.”

Ms Bambach said some people asked her to post information anonymously on her behalf, but she needed to provide evidence to back up her claim.

Ms Bambach said some of the people who made the request had tested positive for COVID-19 and were concerned about possible reactions or stigma if they used their real names.

She said the group has received suggestions from employees in the workplace regarding social media policies as well as restrictions on sharing information using their personal accounts.

A Woman Staring Seriously At The Camera.  She Is Out, Wearing A Green Shirt.
Moyle mother-in-law Alison Crooks waited 74 hours for the results of her PCR test.(ABC News: Che Chorley)

Long awaited PCR results

Meanwhile, the waiting time for PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing at NT is increasing.

Alison Crooks, her husband and their two children waited more than three days for their PCR results this week.

The family returned from Adelaide last Wednesday night and on Saturday Ms. Crooks was in close contact with her sister in the confirmed COVID-19 case.

At home, they performed rapid antigen tests (RATs), all of which returned negative results, but Ms. Crook was concerned that the tests on her boys might not be accurate.

“I find it really hard to use them with kids – because they’re five and seven years old. You really have to stick them in your nose,” he explained.

Close-Up Of A Person Using A Quick Antigen Test By Holding A Swab In One Hand And A Dropper Bottle In The Other.
The Crooks family did RATs at home, but wanted to make sure the results were accurate.(Flickr: Jernej Furman)

For a brainstorming session, the family booked for a PCR test at Darwin’s East Hand facility on Sunday morning.

The family was not instructed to isolate themselves while waiting for the results but chose to hang someone else at home instead of risking spreading the virus.

They received their negative results on Wednesday afternoon, but Ms. Crooks expressed concern about the long wait.

“It’s too long,” she said.

Ms Crooks was worried that if she tested positive, she would struggle to keep up with the steps she had taken.

“I don’t even remember who we saw,” she said.

There is no Kovid press conference on Wednesday

Country Liberal Party legislator Mary-Claire Boothby agreed that the waiting time for PCR tests was too long.

“These are families who are very stressed, these are workers who may not be able to return to work, and of course businesses depend on them.”

Clp Member For Brennan Marie-Clare Boothby Looking At The Camera In Front Of Parliament.
Marie-Claire Boothby of CLP says it is unacceptable to wait too long for PCR test results.(ABC News: Chris Fitzpatrick)

Ms. Boothby was critical Yesterday’s COVID-19 update was provided through an afternoon media releaseGovernment ministers are not available for the press conference.

Wednesday’s update showed NT infected 352 people with covid-19 infections in 24 hours, including 28 in hospital and one in ICU.

“It’s not good enough,” said Ms. Boothby.

“We definitely need the government to make sure they are in power now.”

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