Australian Defence Force personnel in Victoria have completed their supporting role as part of the contact tracing team with the Department of Health and Human Services.

The eight-member team did follow-up calls with members of the community diagnosed with COVID-19 and people with whom they had been in close contact.

Royal Australian Navy Doctor Lieutenant Commander Anthony Carpenter said the contact tracing work was highly successful. 

“The prompt establishment of a large-scale contact tracing team requires recruitment of the right people, induction, training and coordination in a short space of time,” Lieutenant Commander Carpenter said.

“Australian Army combat medical attendants have used their health knowledge and skills to provide effective support to the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services during the critical early phase of establishing an effective contract tracing operation.

“The team’s efforts have been used to gain vital understanding of how this viral infection is spreading within the community and helping reduce the number of new cases of COVID-19 which have been recorded in Victoria.”

Contact tracing involves interviewing members of the public to establish a travel history, their interactions with other people, any symptoms of COVID-19 and their current place of residence. 

Lieutenant Commander Carpenter said he was proud of how the ADF team integrated with their partner agency.

“The work of the Army combat medical attendants has helped prevent COVID-19 infections, preserved the Victorian health system capacity, saved lives and bought critical time for health services to prepare in case COVID-19 cases increase in the future,” he said.

“The combat medical attendants contributed to the identification of more than 1300 cases of COVID-19 through access to testing and the recovery to date of over 1250 of these cases.   

“Our ADF teams have helped Victorians access more than 90,000 tests for COVID-19.”