We are here to support all of our patients in the best way we can. Please ring ahead if you have a fever, cough, sore throat or any shortness of breath and have travelled in the past month.
If you are unwell it is still important to see your GP.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans. In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The most recently discovered coronavirus causes coronavirus disease COVID-19.
Source: World Health Organisation.
COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.
Source: World Health Organisation.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don't feel unwell. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around 1 out of every 6 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention.
Source: World Health Organisation.
Identify and compare the differences between the symptoms of the common cold, influenza and COVID-19.
People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus. The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets. This is why it is important to stay more than 1 meter (3 feet) away from a person who is sick.
Can the virus that causes COVID-19 be transmitted through the air?
Studies to date suggest that the virus that causes COVID-19 is mainly transmitted through contact with respiratory droplets rather than through the air. See previous answer on “How does COVID-19 spread?”
Can CoVID-19 be caught from a person who has no symptoms?
The main way the disease spreads is through respiratory droplets expelled by someone who is coughing. The risk of catching COVID-19 from someone with no symptoms at all is very low. However, many people with COVID-19 experience only mild symptoms. This is particularly true at the early stages of the disease. It is therefore possible to catch COVID-19 from someone who has, for example, just a mild cough and does not feel ill. WHO is assessing ongoing research on the period of transmission of COVID-19 and will continue to share updated findings.
Can I catch COVID-19 from the feces of someone with the disease?
The risk of catching COVID-19 from the feces of an infected person appears to be low. While initial investigations suggest the virus may be present in feces in some cases, spread through this route is not a main feature of the outbreak. WHO is assessing ongoing research on the ways COVID-19 is spread and will continue to share new findings. Because this is a risk, however, it is another reason to clean hands regularly, after using the bathroom and before eating.
Source: World Health Organisation.
Social distancing means you should maintain at least a 1.5 metre distance between yourself and anyone coughing or sneezing to avoid coming into contact with droplets that may contain the virus. It is best to avoid physical contact where possible.
For more information on social distancing, visit the Australian Department of Health fact sheet.
To self isolate, you must stay at home and not go to public places. Only people who usually live with you should be in contact with you and you must not see visitors. If you must leave home, such as to seek medical care, wear a surgical mask. If you develop symptoms you should arange to see a Doctor urgently.
For more information on self isolating, visit the Australian Department of Health fact sheet.
If you feel sick you should stay away from others and practice good hygiene. If you feel you need to see a Doctor please call ahead before visiting the centre.
Practice Respiratory Hygiene
Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
Why? Droplets spread the virus. By following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.
If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early
Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.
Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent the spread of viruses and other infections.
When to use a mask:
- If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with suspected 2019-nCoV infection.
- Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
- Masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
- If you wear a mask, then you must know how to use it and dispose of it properly.
How to put on, use, take off and dispose of a mask:
- Before putting on a mask, clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
- Cover mouth and nose with mask and make sure there are no gaps between your face and the mask.
- Avoid touching the mask while using it; if you do, clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
- Replace the mask with a new one as soon as it is damp and do not re-use single-use masks.
- To remove the mask: remove it from behind (do not touch the front of mask); discard immediately in a closed bin; clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
Pregnant women should take the same precautions to avoid COVID-19 infection as other people. You can help protect yourself by:
Washing your hands frequently with an alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
Keeping space between yourselves and others.
Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
Practicing respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
If you have fever, cough or difficulty breathing, seek medical care early. Call before going to a health facility, and follow the directions of your local health authority.
Pregnant women and women who have recently delivered – including those affected by COVID-19 - should attend their routine care appointments.
Further pregnancy information can be found on the World Health Organisation website.
Humans are susceptible to many different infectious diseases, including coronavirus (COVID-19). Worrying about diseases is a normal reaction. But, excessive worrying about infectious diseases can affect both our physical and our mental health.
There are plenty of support systems available during this time and we encourage you to utilise these to take care of your mental health. Some examples include; staying connected, exercising, staying positive, staying informed and seeking support.
Further information can be found at Health Direct.
Who can I contact?
We understand that in these uncertain times you may experience increased anxiety. If you need someone to talk to, please reach out.
Practical psychological skills to help you and your loved ones cope with anxiety and worry about infectious diseases include:
- Get informed with the right information
- Understand the history of infectious disease
- Get organised
- Balance your thoughts
- Shut down the noise
- Remember who you are
- Keep healthy routines
- Stay engaged
- Do the things that you enjoy and that are good for you
- Keep looking forward
Further information can be found at Head to Health.
If you are taking care of someone with a suspected case, it is important you take care of yourself and your family. Home caregivers for people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 should:
Ensure the ill persons rests, drinks plenty of fluids and eats nutritious food.
Wear a medical mask when in the same room with an ill person. Do not touch the mask or face during use and discard it afterwards.
Frequently clean hands with soap and water or alcohol-based rub, especially after any type of contact with the ill person or their surroundings, before, during and after preparing food, before eating and after using the toilet
Use dedicated dishes, cups, eating utensils, towels and bedlinens for the ill person. Wash dishes, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedlinens used by the ill person with soap and water.
Identify frequently touched surfaces by the ill person and clean and disinfect them daily.
Call your health care facility immediately if the ill person worsens or experiences difficulty breathing.
If there is a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 in my household, how do I take care of myself?
In a household where there is a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19, household members should:
Wash hands with soap and water regularly, especially after coughing or sneezing, before during and after you prepare food, before eating, after using the toilet, before and after caring for the ill person and when hands are visibly dirty.
Avoid unnecessary exposure to the ill person and avoid sharing items, such as eating utensils, dishes, drinks and towels.
When coughing or sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or use a disposable tissue and discard immediately after use.
Monitor everyone’s health for symptoms such as fever, cough and if difficult breathing appears, call your health care facility immediately.
If you are planning on visiting someone in an aged care facility, please wash your hands before entering and leaving the room and practice social distancing. A resident is only allowed 2 visitors at a time, including doctors.
If you don’t absolutely have to go to support a resident in care, please don’t. It’s best to keep in touch by:
- phone calls
- video calls
- sending a postcard
- sharing photos, artwork, or short home videos
This will limit your exposure to COVID-19 and your chances of accidentally spreading it to the other older people in your life.
Please note: people cannot visit a residential aged care facility if they have:
returned from overseas in the last 14 days
been in direct contact with a confirmed case in the last 14 days
if you have symptoms or a respiratory illness
if you are aged under 16, except in special circumstances
For further information visit the Australian Department of Health fact sheet.
Basic protective measures against the new coronavirus
When to use a mask