As South Australia records a third active case of coronavirus in hotel quarantine, health authorities are set to take charge of a dedicated facility to house those who have tested positive to COVID-19.

Here’s a look at how it will work.

What has been happening in hotel quarantine in SA?

Medi-hotels had been running with relative success in Adelaide’s CBD, until last November.

Dubbed the “Parafield cluster”, the state was sent into a three-day circuit-breaker lockdown following community transmission of the virus via medi-hotel employees.

Since then, Greater Brisbane experienced its own lockdown after a cleaner at a quarantine hotel tested positive for the contagious UK strain and large parts of Western Australia were sent into lockdown after a hotel quarantine security guard in Perth was diagnosed.

This week, two hotel quarantine workers in Melbourne tested positive for COVID-19.

Rather than isolate coronavirus patients in the same buildings as quarantining travellers, the new Adelaide facility will only accommodate those who have tested positive.

What’s led to this?

In the aftermath of the Parafield cluster, health authorities identified poor ventilation at Adelaide’s Peppers quarantine hotel as the potential source of the outbreak.

In response to the cluster, the SA Government detailed an urgent eight-point plan to improve the state’s hotel quarantine system.

The first point was a commitment to transfer “all positive COVID cases” from medi-hotels to a dedicated health facility.

After initially considering another site, the SA Government announced Tom’s Court Hotel on King William Street in Adelaide’s CBD as the preferred venue.

SA Health staff conduct testing at Peppers Waymouth Hotel.(ABC News: Michael Clements)

It will operate along similar lines to Victoria’s so-called “hot hotels”, which are used exclusively to accommodate returned travellers who test positive for COVID-19.

“Some states move people into their hospitals, some [states] keep them within their existing facilities and some have them in a dedicated hotel,” SA Premier Steven Marshall said.

“There’s quite a lot of variation.

“We looked at all of these models and we decided what was best for us here in South Australia was a dedicated facility, but outside of our hospital environment.”

SA Health has today taken control of the 72-bed hotel and is readying the site to take patients from next Monday.

How will it work?

Since the start of the pandemic, Adelaide has employed several hotels for quarantine purposes including Peppers, the Stamford and the Pullman — which has acted as an interim dedicated site for COVID-positive patients.

From next Monday, anyone who tests positive for coronavirus will be taken to Tom’s Court Hotel to isolate them from people staying in the city’s other medi-hotels.

“We’ve looked at every aspect and learned from what happened with the Parafield cluster,” Mr Marshall said.

“There were extensive modifications we needed to make to Tom’s Court Hotel to make this suitable.

“We’ve done extensive changes based upon the expert health advice that we’ve had, including [to] ventilation, surfaces, how we’ll manage the cleaning.”

Peppers Waymouth Hotel was linked to SA’s November lockdown.(ABC News: Michael Clements)

Health Minister Steven Wade explained that cases diagnosed prior to the site being handed over would remain at the Pullman.

“Given the highly transmissible strain we are seeing from overseas, any COVID-19 positive patients already at the Pullman [medi-hotel] at the time of Tom’s Court opening, will not be moved,” he said.

How is it different?

Apart from the fact that only people confirmed to have the virus will be taken there, staffing arrangements will be different.

Unlike other medi-hotels in Adelaide, where private companies have been employed to provide security, Tom’s Court will be exclusively staffed by SA Health and SA Police, who will deliver nursing and security services.

Staff will be subject to stricter requirements, and will not be deployed to other medi-hotels or “high-risk environments, including hospitals, and aged care and correctional facilities”, the SA Government said.

“The facility includes four rooms with apartment-style facilities suitable to accommodate families and two purpose-built disability suites, with many of the rooms having balconies and opening windows providing fresh air to the rooms,” deputy chief public health officer Emily Kirkpatrick said.

The 72-bed hotel includes balconies and purpose-built suites.(ABC News: Natarsha Kallios)

“Some modifications to the heating ventilation and air-conditioning system have been made to enable the hotel to meet SA Health’s stringent requirements as a medi-hotel, with additional CCTV cameras also being installed.

“We have also increased health support and mental health wellbeing checks for guests.”

A spokeswoman from SA Health said the opening of the facility marked “a significant enhancement” of the state’s quarantine process and would be a site for other potential cases.

“In some cases … close contacts will also be transferred if they are part of the same family.”

The spokeswoman said while procedures remained the same for transferring patients, other modifications had been made.

“Modifications to the heating ventilation and air-conditioning system have been made to ensure that the facilities meet hospital-grade standards,” she said.