From border control to contact tracing, ADF personnel are supporting state and commonwealth agencies in Victoria  to help stop the spread of COVID-19. 

As part of Operation COVID-19 Assist, personnel are also involved in close-contact data management and investigation. 

Their role is to identify and contact positive cases, notify their close contacts, advise them to isolate for 14 days and manage data on specific outbreaks.

Deployed from RAAF Base East Sale, Pilot Officer Ethan Phipps is a data manager at the Department of Health and Human Services. 

“I’m responsible for a team of data entry officers, doing quality checks and ensuring all data entered is correct,” Pilot Officer Phipps said.

“We are supporting the department by entering the data from questionnaires and cases to help with contact tracing.”

Pilot Officer Phipps said supporting the Victorian community was rewarding. 

“This is my second domestic operation as I was on Operation Bushfire Assist earlier this year," Pilot Officer Phipps said.

"It’s good to be doing my bit to help the Victorian community, especially having lived here for the last year and a half.” 

Like many ADF personnel, this is Pilot Officer Phipps’s first time working with the Department of Health and Human Services.

“It’s interesting to see how all the agencies operate differently but then integrate seamlessly for a common goal,” Pilot Officer Phipps said.

“We are all working towards a bigger picture, which is a safer, COVID-19 free Australia.”  

Amy O’Donnell is a team leader in the Contact Case and Management Outbreak team at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Ms O’Donnell said the office-based tasks were keeping ADF personnel busy.

“The ADF are assisting in many different areas across the department and we are happy to have them helping us,” Ms O’Donnell said.