An external triage area will be added outside the Launceston General Hospital on Tuesday to be used to screen patients should COVID-19 community transmission start to occur.
Similar external spaces will also be added at the Royal Hobart Hospital, Mersey Community Hospital and North-West Regional Hospital this week in preparation for borders to fully reopen on Wednesday.
State health commander Kathrine Morgan-Wicks said they were contingency measures aimed at minimising the spread of COVID in hospitals by offering a space with better ventilation.
"This will allow for increased screening and rapid antigen testing of patients to occur outside of emergency departments, and allow patients to be placed in the most appropriate care for their clinical needs whilst minimising the potential patient-to-patient transmission," she said.
"These areas are not extensions of our emergency departments, but are deliberately placed in externally ventilated areas where staff can safely conduct screening prior to patients entering the ED waiting areas.
"Their use and location has been clinically recommended and takes into account the experience of other major mainland hospitals during COVID outbreak conditions."
Until COVID community transmission starts to occur, the external triage areas will not be used.
Standard COVID testing kits will also be used, but this will be scaled up to rapid antigen testing for arrivals at hospitals during periods of community transmission.
"Once we have community transmission ... that is the trigger point for rapid antigen testing to ... safely and more accurately be used in our hospitals in Tasmania," Ms Morgan-Wicks said.
"So we will be using that together with a combination of epidemiological screening outside of our EDs to make sure that we can pick up and risk manage patients that are turning up to our hospitals."
The Public Health call centre received 5250 calls on Monday morning, including 1600 regarding vaccination bookings for children aged five to 11.
Health Minister Jeremy Rockliff said this was the largest call load experienced during the pandemic.
The majority of other calls related to bookings for a booster vaccination, given the wait time from the second dose has been reduced from six months to five, as well as border and testing queries.
Ms Morgan-Wicks said Tasmanians undertaking short trips to high risk areas would need to be tested when they return, but only those with symptoms have to isolate.
"If you are not symptomatic, you can go about your business as normal, however if you do have symptoms - like with all of our COVID testing - you do need to isolate until you get that negative result," she said.
"I absolutely understand it can be frustrating for members of the public to try to follow these changes, but we monitor COVID every single day and we need to make those recommendations which may include a change to testing as required, particularly given we have the Omicron variant that we're modelling."
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