COVID-19 Guidelines for Spinifex Health Services and Paupiyala Tjarutja Aboriginal Corporation (PTAC)




Important notification of any changes to the COVID-19 Guidelines.




Tjuntjuntjara lands were closed to non-essential visitors and contractors on Wednesday 18th March 2020 for a period after State lockdowns at the height of the pandemic.  You can view Remote Community Directions online here Remote Aboriginal Communities Directions (No. 3) (


Check this site and contact us for future closure notifications if and when they occur.

Who is an essential person? Refer definitions of Essential Persons in the same Directions above Remote Aboriginal Communities Directions (No. 3) (


  • All Anangu members living at Tjuntjuntjara

  • Family members of local Anangu members returning home (subject to above screening)

  • All staff based at Tjuntjuntjara working for local Tjuntjuntjara based agencies (subject to above screening)

  • Essential visiting clinicians from RFDS, KWHA, RHW, WAPHA and RDWA (subject to above screening)

  • Contractors associated to emergency situations on a need’s basis i.e.; Plumber, Electrician, CIB. (subject to above screening)

PTAC has a Local Pandemic Plan as well managed by the Community Services Manager and Health Service. ​

If a future closure occurs and you are unsure if you are included in the Essential People groups, please contact either:

Gary Kairn  CEO, e. or 0437 342 101, AH 08 9037 1122


Community Services Manager,, PH 08 90371100

We also manage Guidelines for the Risk Mitigation and Outbreaks of COVID - 19 in Tjuntjuntjara through Spinifex Health. This guideline was developed by the Spinifex Health Services(SHSs) based on public communications provided by the Communicable Diseases Network Australia (CDNA), the World Health Organisation (WHO), National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO), Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Western Australia (AHCWA) and Infection Control – COVID – 19 Fact Sheets.


This guideline is for utilisation by Tjuntjuntjara based Organisations and Relevant Tjuntjuntjara authorities for the implementation of best practice processes for the prevention and management of COVID-19 outbreaks in the Tjuntjuntjara Community. This guideline captures the knowledge of experienced professionals and provides guidance on good practice based upon the available evidence at the time of completion relevant to the protection of vulnerable peoples.




The intention of this guideline is to provide Tjuntjuntjara based organisations and authorities with consistent, appropriate and crucial requirements for official visitors and fly in fly out (FIFO) staffing entering the Spinifex Lands and Tjuntjuntjara community.


These guidelines are intended to also cover Tjuntjuntjara and Ilkurlka based staff undertaking travel for any purpose.


Understanding Coronavirus (COVID-19)?


It can be difficult to tell the difference between a respiratory illness such as COVID-19 and a respiratory illness caused by other viruses based on symptoms alone. Suspected COVID19 cases are referred to as a ‘suspect case’ until a causative pathogen is identified through diagnostic testing (for example, nose and throat swab collection). If the COVID-19 virus (SARS-CoV-2) is detected during an outbreak this is referred to as a COVID-19 outbreak.


While all respiratory viruses can cause outbreaks and significant morbidity and mortality,

COVID-19 is acknowledged as a significant health risk particularly for the elderly, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and individuals with co-morbidities or low immunity. This guideline will assist Tjuntjuntjara to manage all types of respiratory outbreaks, but the focus is predominantly on COVID-19.


COVID-19 is a contagious viral infection that generally causes respiratory illness in humans. Presentation can range from no symptoms (asymptomatic) to severe illness with potentially life-threatening complications, including pneumonia. COVID-19 is spread by contact with respiratory secretions and fomites.


The most common signs and symptoms include:

  • fever (though this may be absent in the elderly)

  • dry cough


Other symptoms can include:


  • shortness of breath

  • sputum production

  • fatigue



High Risk Community

Aboriginal people in general who contract COVID – 19 are deemed at higher risk of serious medical complications or death; Aboriginal Remote Communities such as Tjuntjuntjara although isolated communities, are deemed high risk areas due to the ‘Fly in Fly Out’ (FIFO) staff and visiting Allied Health Clinicians that are at the forefront of COVID – 19 response and travel through airports that are a known risk site for exposure.


80% of Tjuntjuntjara Aboriginal Community members are affected by one or more high risk medical conditions listed below; we all have a responsibility to ensure we minimise the risk of COVID – 19 infecting any of our Aboriginal Community members and/or our Remote Health Staff that are paramount in providing a health and emergency response for our Community members. 


Following is a list of underlying medical conditions that may increase the risk of serious COVID-19 for individuals of any age.


Blood disorders

  • Blood disorders (e.g., sickle cell disease or on blood thinners)

  • Chronic kidney disease as defined by your doctor. Patient has been told to avoid or reduce the dose of medications because kidney disease, or is under treatment for kidney disease, including receiving dialysis

  • Chronic liver disease as defined by your doctor. (e.g., cirrhosis, chronic hepatitis)

  • Patient has been told to avoid or reduce the dose of medications because liver disease or is under treatment for liver disease.

  • Compromised immune system (immunosuppression) (e.g., seeing a doctor for cancer and treatment such as chemotherapy or radiation, received an organ or bone marrow transplant, taking high doses of corticosteroids or other immunosuppressant medications, HIV or AIDS)

  • Current or recent pregnancy in the last two weeks

  • Endocrine disorders (e.g., diabetes mellitus)

  • Metabolic disorders (such as inherited metabolic disorders and mitochondrial disorders)

  • Heart disease (such as congenital heart disease, congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease)

  • Lung disease including asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (chronic bronchitis or emphysema) or other chronic conditions associated with impaired lung function or that require home oxygen

  • Neurological and neurologic and neurodevelopment conditions including disorders of the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerve, and muscle such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy (seizure disorders), stroke, intellectual disability, moderate to severe developmental delay, muscular dystrophy, or spinal cord injury.


Clinical Control

The lead nurse in the health clinic (Chronic Disease Nurse) will triage patients from the community and follow clinical protocols to treat patients. These treatment protocols have been implemented as well as community education and a prevention program. Some patients will be required to be treated in isolation and the Health Visitor Units which has a capacity to accommodate 3 individuals will initially be used for this purpose. If more patients require isolation for the treatment of COVID 19 the Barn

accommodation has the capacity for 19 more individuals. Further isolation facilities can be established quickly at the rear of the HAAC Centre if required.


Who are FIFO Staff and Visitors to Tjuntjuntjara?


The procedures provided in this guideline are relevant to all visitors and working remote staff that are not Tjuntjuntjara Anangu residents; including but not limited to;


  • Tjuntjuntjara Western Australian Police (WAPOL) Staff, visitors and contractors

  • Tjuntjuntjara School Staff, visitors and contractors

  • Tjuntjuntjara PTAC Aboriginal Anangu Council Staff, visitors and contractors

  • PTAC and PNAC non-Anangu staff, also Spinifex Arts

  • Spinifex Arts Project Staff, visitors and contractors

  • Tjuntjuntjara Outback Stores staff, visitors and contractors

  • Spinifex Health Services (SHSs) staff, visitors and contractors

  • Ngaanyatjarra Service Providers, Tjuntjuntjara workers/visitors

  • Government Department staff

  • Community members returning to community


The role of the key contacts is to ensure that any FIFO staff or essential visitors that are planning on visiting the community are aware of the Procedures for accessing and entering the community. That is that they are screened by a nurse prior to travelling to the community, and again on arrival into the community (by phone).   The Key Contact is also responsible for forwarding a copy of this Community Response Plan to any potential visitors / staff.  If you are a FIFO staff member or visitor, please contact one of the key contacts below:


Note:  These responses may change given the likely outbreak of COVID-19 and differing circumstances in the Tjuntjuntjara community and Goldfields Region.



Community Services Manager, 
e. | 08 90371100                                

Spinifex Health Service (Clinic)

Health Service Manager                                            

 e. |p. 08-9037 1102

Pila Nguru

Ian Baird, General Manager,
e. |p. 08-9028 2543 |m. 0418 308 644

Tjuntjuntjara Community School

Principal |p. 08-9037 1113

Ilkurlka Roadhouse

Ilkurlka Manager, | p. 08-9037 1147 | m. 0421 389 273

Spinifex Arts Project

Amanda Dent, Manager. |m.  0429 227 503