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COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) Information

COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) Information

On this webpage you can find advice for GPs and community members on how to identify, manage and prevent the spread of COVID-19. Please note that the situation in Australia with regards to novel coronavirus is changing continually and official local and national government sources will be able to provide the most up-to-date information.

Vaccine information for health professionals

National Vaccination Rollout Strategy

Australia’s COVID-19 Vaccine National Rollout Strategy identifies:

  • priority populations for vaccination, and the phases in which vaccines will be provided in Australia
  • details for how vaccines will reach frontline healthcare workers, quarantine and border workers, and aged and disability care residents and workers
  • initial locations, across Australia, at which vaccines will be administered.

To view an adapted version of the roadmap flowchart (amended to show which group/s of health professionals are administering which type of vaccines), click here.

A statement from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) on the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in response to new vaccine safety concerns (8th April 2021). Click here to read.

Product information and consumer medicine information

  • Australian product information for Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine (COMIRNATY™): click here
  • Consumer medicine information on Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine (COMIRNATY™): click here
  • Australian product information for AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine: click here
  • Consumer medicine information on AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine: click here

General information

Quality improvement

Guidance and onboarding advice

MBS items

Screening, consent, and equipment and procedures

  • Immunisation providers should screen people before vaccination, obtain valid consent, and ensure that the correct equipment and procedures are in place before vaccination: see “Preparing for Vaccination” information in the Australian Immunisation Handbook
  • Provider guide for obtaining informed consent (updated on 3 April 2021 to include information on a safety investigation into a rare clotting condition reported after COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca): click here
  • Patient eligibility declaration form: click here
  • Consent form for COVID-19 vaccination: click here
  • Patient guide on what to expect after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine

Adverse events

ATAGI advice on influenza and COVID-19 vaccines

Mandatory Reporting to the AIR Commences Now

The Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) Amendment (Reporting) Rules 2021 were registered on 19 February 2021 and the requirement for mandatory reporting for COVID-19 vaccinations has now begun.
Mandatory reporting to the AIR commences from:

  • 19 February 2021 for COVID-19 vaccinations,
  • 1 March 2021 for influenza vaccinations, and
  • 1 July 2021 for all National Immunisation Program vaccinations.

Penalties of up to $6,660 will apply for the failure of reporting vaccinations to the AIR.

Reporting rules.

 

Managing anaphylaxis after vaccination.

For the latest information on the COVID-19 vaccination process for GPs please visit:

Vaccine information for community members

Australia’s COVID-19 vaccination program will commence with priority population groups. Find out more about the national roll-out strategy here.

Why should I get vaccinated for COVID-19?

COVID-19 vaccines ⁠–⁠ Is it true? – your questions and concerns answered.

Factsheet: Weighing up the potential benefits against risk of harm from AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

Information on getting vaccinated for COVID-19 (easy-read)

COVID-19 Vaccine Side Effect Checker

Patient eligibility declaration form: click here

Information for aged care residents and families

For information on priority groups and when you will receive the COVID-19 vaccine click here.

For information on what to do before you get vaccinated click here.

For information on COVID-19 vaccination in pregnant and breastfeeding women click here.

For information about COVID-19 vaccines for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples click here.

For information about COVID-19 vaccines for people with a disability click here.

For information about COVID-19 vaccines and people with chronic health conditions click here.

For information about COVID-19 vaccines and vaccination decisions for frail older people click here.

Joint statement on COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccine advice from ATAGI

Information for after your AstraZeneca vaccine

Preparing for your AstraZeneca vaccine

For information about the top 3 COVID-19 vaccine questions on eligibility, mental health and travel into Australia watch this video.

A statement from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) on the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in response to new vaccine safety concerns (8th April 2021). Click here to read.

Click on the image below for a tool that will:

  • help you check your eligibility for a COVID-19 vaccination
  • let you know where you can make a booking to receive your vaccination if you’re eligible.

'COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Checker

Translated vaccine resources from the Department of Health for multicultural communitiesclick here

The Therapeutic Goods Administration have created a COVID-19 vaccine information page for consumers and health professionals which answers common questions about how the TGA assesses and monitors a vaccine for safety, quality and effectiveness.

You can get an immunisation history statement to show proof of your coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccinations. Click here to find out how.

Information for health professionals

COVID-19 Health Pathways

The Sydney North HealthPathways team have completed a rapid localisation of the pathway Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Information. If you have not accessed HealthPathways before, or if you have any questions, please contact the HealthPathways Team: healthpathways@snhn.org.au

 

Supporting regulatory documents for COVID-19 AstraZeneca Vaccine

The provisional approval pathway provides a formal and transparent mechanism for speeding up the registration of promising new medicines with preliminary clinical data.

The following regulatory documents are made available as part of this process:

 

Suspected adverse event following immunisation

Guidance on investigation or management support, and on reporting requirements for suspected adverse event following immunisation (AEFI), is available on the NSW Health COVID-19 vaccination website and through the NSW Immunisation Specialist Service (NSWISS) on 1800 679 477 (9am – 5pm).

AEFI are a notifiable condition under the NSW Public Health Act (2010). All uncommon, unexpected or serious AEFI, or any event considered by a clinician to be significant following immunisation, must be notified to the local Public Health Unit on 1300 066 055 or by email to MOH-covidaefi@health.nsw.gov.au using the TGA AEFI case notification form.

 

Updated information and advice for health professionals

 

COVID-19 Infection Control Online Training

This is designed to provide training on protecting yourself and the people you are caring for from infection with COVID-19. The training takes approximately 30 minutes.  Training is accessible here.

Supporting people with disabilities during COVID-19

  • Helpline to assist health professionals to deliver care to people with a disability (diagnosed with COVID-19 or experiencing symptoms): call 1800 131 330 between 8am – 9pm (AEST), Monday to Friday. Calls will be answered by health professionals with disability service qualifications and experience working with people with disability. More info here.
  • Department of Health factsheets

COVID-19 Vaccination for Aged Care Information

 

COVID-19 outbreak preparation: Advice for GPs with patients in Aged Care Facilities

Click here to view the tip sheet. This document is the first in a series to support GPs working in residential aged care facilities (RACFs) and is designed to support involvement in RACF COVID-19 ou-break preparedness activities. It incorporates the expertise of a range of stakeholders including our local Emergency Response Outbreak Advisory Group GPs, Dr James Hardy and Prof Sue Kurrle, Geriatricians in Northern Sydney LHD.

 

COVID vaccinations in Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACFs)

Click here.

 

Process for Residents Developing COVID-19 Symptoms

During Regular Hours

Northern Sydney Local health District (NSLHD) mobile ‘Swab Team’ is available to attend Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACFs) to complete COVID-19 swabbing. The ‘Swab Team’ can be contacted on 0438 613 273 during these hours:

  • Monday to Sunday (7 days)
  • 9am – 5pm

After Hours

Outside of these hours, NSLHD does not provide a mobile COVID-19 testing service.

If a RACF resident develops COVID-19 like symptoms outside of these hours, please implement the following recommendations:

    • Contact the resident’s GP for medical advice and/or follow your usual after hours GP protocols.
    • Isolate the resident and implement contact and droplet precautions.
    • Utilise appropriate PPE.
    • If the resident remains well enough to remain in the RACF, contact the ‘Swab Team’ at 9am the following day.
    • If the resident becomes acutely unwell, requiring urgent medical attention, call an ambulance on 000 and advise that the resident is potentially COVID-19 positive.

 

Department of Health newsletter for aged care sector

This specific COVID-19-related newsletter ensures those in the aged care sector have access to best-practice information and resources. You can subscribe to the newsletter here or view web versions of past editions here.

 

Helping patients with Dementia navigate COVID-19

  • To find out more click here.
  • National Dementia Helpline, 1800 100 500 – for  all health professionals supporting people living with dementia, and family carers in need of support during this difficult time.

 

Requesting PPE

Aged care providers can request PPE by sending an email to agedcareCOVIDPPE@health.gov.au

Further information on PPE for Aged Care providers can be found here.

 

Information for discharging new and returning residents

https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/diseases/Pages/covid-19-discharging-residents.aspx

 

Flu Vaccination Information for Aged Care Facilities

https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/Influenza/Pages/residential-care.aspx

 

Guidelines for Aged Care Facilities on COVID-19 outbreaks – Dept of Health

https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidelines-for-outbreaks-in-residential-care-facilities

 

Secondary Triage – Update Information for Residential Aged Care Facility Health Workers

https://sydneynorthhealthnetwork.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Secondary-Triage-for-Residential-Aged-Care-Facilities-Updated-Information-for-RACF-Healthcare-Workers.pdf

Secondary Triage – Information for Patients and Their Families

https://sydneynorthhealthnetwork.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Secondary-Triage-for-Residential-Aged-Care-Facilities-Information-for-RACF-Patients-and-Families-V3.pdf

 

Palliative Care

Advance Care Planning during the time of COVID-19:
https://www.advancecareplanning.org.au/for-health-and-care-workers/covid-19-web#/

 

Caring at Home package for carers during Covid

https://www.caringathomeproject.com.au/Portals/13/Documents/caring@home-FactSheet-COVID-UPDATE-WEB.pdf

 

Palliative care resources for GPs during COVID-19

https://www.caresearch.com.au/caresearch/tabid/5971/Default.aspx

Respiratory high-risk therapies

The NSW Government’s Agency for Clinical Innovation (ACI) has released some resources on the use of respiratory therapies that generate aerosolised particles. These therapies are capable of transmitting respiratory viruses including COVID-19. For this reason, they are considered high-risk.

The documents below provide some guidance around how to mitigate the risk of these therapies to keep people safe. There are also some alternatives that should be considered. These documents were informed by an evidence review, and developed by experts from the respiratory, intensive care, anaesthetics, paediatrics and infection control disciplines.

From 13 March 2020 to 31 March 2021, new temporary MBS telehealth items have been made available to help reduce the risk of community transmission of COVID-19 and provide protection for patients and health care providers.

  • The list of telehealth services has continued to expand since 13 March. The latest factsheet provides details on all current telehealth items.
  • The new temporary MBS telehealth items are available to GPs, medical practitioners, nurse practitioners, participating midwives and allied health providers.
  • A service may only be provided by telehealth where it is safe and clinically appropriate to do so.
  • From 6 April 2020, it is a legislative requirement that the new telehealth services must be bulk billed for Commonwealth concession card holders, children under 16 years old and patients who are more vulnerable to COVID-19.
  • Health providers may apply their usual billing practices to the telehealth items for patients who do not fit the above criteria. Providers are expected to obtain informed financial consent from patients prior to providing the service; providing details regarding their fees, including any out-of-pocket costs.
  • From 30 March 2020, the bulk billing incentive Medicare fees have doubled for items relating to General Practice, Diagnostic Imaging and Pathology services. These items can be claimed with the new temporary MBS telehealth items where appropriate. The new fees can be found on MBS Online.

We can help you set up telehealth technology in your practice

SNHN can help primary care practitioners and specialists get set up with a free, fit-for-purpose telehealth solution designed for health professionals. Email your query to digitalhealth@snhn.org.au

The Department of Health has issued a ‘Guide for Prescribers’ fact sheet, containing interim arrangements for prescriptions to support telehealth services.

It contains instructions on how to correctly send prescriptions to pharmacies via email, text message or fax, as well as other guidance on medicine delivery services, and existing prescriptions and repeats.

Temporary changes to locum tenens

The locum tenens period for health professionals is now 12 weeks. The Department of Health has temporarily extended the period to support the COVID-19 response. Click here for more information.

NSW Government My Health Learning Videos

These videos are divided into the three categories of airborne, contact and droplet precautions. Click here to watch.

 

Department of Health: Guidance on use of personal protective equipment (PPE) in non-inpatient healthcare setting during the COVID-19 outbreak

Download PDF here

 

Video series: how to use personal protective equipment (PPE)

The RACGP has released a handy series of short videos on using personal protective equipment. See below:

  1. How to sanitise your hands
  2. How to don PPE
  3. How to fit a P2/N95 mask
  4. How to remove and dispose of PPE

You can view the full version here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AG0iDJGKUmc&t=42s (7 mins)

 

Mask-fitting guidelines

https://sydneynorthhealthnetwork.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Principles-of-Fit-checking-chart2.pdf

 

Using PPE in aged care

This flowchart outlines when and how aged care workers should wear personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect themselves and others against coronavirus (COVID-19): https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-when-to-use-personal-protective-equipment-in-aged-care

 

Advice on wearing masks in the community

The NSW Government is strongly encouraging greater use of masks in high-risk public settings to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The advice from the NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant specifically recommends:

  • the use of face masks in indoor settings where physical distancing is hard to maintain, such as on public transport or in supermarkets
  • the use of face masks (where practical) in indoor settings with a higher risk of transmission, such as for the staff of hospitality and customer-facing venues i.e. cafes, restaurants, pubs and clubs
  • during attendance at places of worship.

For more information, click here.

Distribution of masks through Primary Health Networks

Primary Health Networks have been given the role of distributing masks to practices with demonstrated need, including:

  • where there is no local supply available commercially
  • where practices have a population, which may be more likely to have been exposed to the novel coronavirus
  • where practices have an unusual number of patients presenting with respiratory symptoms

Eligibility:

  • GP respiratory clinics
  • General practices
  • Community pharmacies
  • After-hours GP home visiting services
  • Medical deputising services
  • Nurse practitioner-owned or -led primary care practices
  • Allied health

Community pharmacies are eligible to access the supply for the use of their staff when there is no available commercial supply and they have significant contact with people presenting with fever or respiratory symptoms.

Allied health professionals are eligible for limited access to the supply for the use of their staff, where there is no available commercial supply and they are working in higher-risk clinical areas and with higher-risk vulnerable patients. Primary Health Networks have been given a one-off supply of surgical masks for this purpose. See also guidance for PHNs for distribution of PPE to allied health professionals.

Advice for residential aged care facilities. If Commonwealth funded aged care providers are experiencing shortages and are unable to obtain masks from any other source may be eligible to request a small supply from the National Stockpile by emailing AgedCareCOVIDPPE@health.gov.au.

For more information, please refer to the latest guidance for the distribution of masks through Primary Health Networks.

Eligible practices, clinics and pharmacies can use the order form below to request a small supply of masks.

Please note: Sydney North Health Network has only been supplied with surgical and P2 masks for distribution across Northern Sydney. We are unable to supply hand sanitiser, gowns, gloves or goggles.

 

Mask Request Form

Sydney North Health Network has received supplies of masks from two different sources:

  • Surgical and P2 masks from the National Medical Stockpile
  • Donation of surgical masks from the Society for Health Administration Programs in Education (SHAPE)

Sydney North Health Network would like to extend our sincere thanks to the Society for Health Administration Programs in Education (SHAPE) for their generous donation of masks in response to COVID-19. We thank SHAPE for supporting our healthcare community in this time of need. Please refer to our disclaimer on donated masks for details.

    Do I need to get tested for COVID-19?

    Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should get tested.

    People with coronavirus may experience any of the following:

    • fever
    • cough
    • tiredness (fatigue)
    • sore throat
    • shortness of breath
    • loss of taste or
    • loss of smell.

    If you have COVID-19 symptoms you can:

    • call your GP
    • call Healthdirect on 1800 022 222 or use the Healthdirect symptom checker here
    • visit a respiratory clinic (see details below)
    • visit a NSW Health COVID-19 clinic (see details below)
    • In an emergency dial 000

    You can use the healthdirect online Coronavirus Symptom Checker tool at the bottom of this section to find out what, if any, actions you need to take to protect yourself and your community.

     

    COVID-19 testing options: what are the differences?

    From Respiratory Clinics to self-collection test kits at home, click here to find out which testing option is best for you.

    Where can I get tested?

    Use the NSW Health ‘COVID-19 clinics’ tool to search for your nearest testing clinic by suburb, postcode or local council.

    Community Information

    Where can I find trusted sources of information?

    Whilst media coverage of COVID-19 can help  you feel informed, it can also trigger feelings of anxiety and agitation. To stay up to date with accurate, factual information you can access:

    Sometimes the information provided by the NSW Ministry of Health and Australian Government Department of Health may differ. This is because the NSW Government provides information  specifically for NSW, which has the highest number of confirmed cases of COVID-19. The Australian Government provides information which is relevant for the whole of Australia – as a result, their messages may not be identical.

     

    Multilingual Resources

    NSW Health COVID-19 Information and resources in languages other than English

    COVID-19 in-language resources from NSW Multicultural Health Communication Service

    Translated resources for health workers and communities

    Information from the Australian Government in your language  Find information on health, education, business and financial support, visas and the border during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    SBS Radio Coronavirus Information in Your Language

     

    Australian Government Department of Health COVID-19 Fact Sheets

    COVID-19 – What you need to know

    COVID-19 – Information on social distancing 

    COVID-19 – Information about routine environmental cleaning and disinfection in the community 

     

    NSW Health and Australian Government Department of Health Information

    NSW Health Novel coronavirus FAQs

    Australian Government Department of Health Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Information 

     

    Healthdirect 

    healthdirect website coronavirus (COVID-19) hub – first point of reference for reliable information about COVID-19

    healthdirect Symptom Checker – an online tool that allows people to check their symptoms using a simple self-guided process.

     

    Supporting people with disabilities during COVID-19

    Person-centred emergency preparedness planning for COVID-19

    • information on how to assist people with disability in planning for how they will manage the impacts of the pandemic

    Coronavirus (COVID-19) hospital companion for people with disability

    • information on how to assist a person with disability if they need to go to hospital

    Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Information for Families

    • information for families of a person with intellectual or developmental disability during the COVID-19 pandemic

    Information for Disability Support Providers and Workers

    • information and guidance for disability support providers and workers who provide health care to people with intellectual or developmental disability

    Guide to personal protective equipment (PPE) for disability care providers

    • information and guidance for disability care providers on the use of PPE

    Information for support workers and carers on coronavirus (COVID-19) testing for people with disability

    • information on who should be tested, where testing can be done, and how to explain the testing process to a person with disability

    Do I need to get tested for COVID-19?

    Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should get tested.

    People with coronavirus may experience any of the following:

    • fever
    • cough
    • tiredness (fatigue)
    • sore throat
    • shortness of breath
    • loss of taste or
    • loss of smell.

    If you have COVID-19 symptoms you can:

    • call your GP
    • call Healthdirect on 1800 022 222 or use the Healthdirect symptom checker here
    • visit a respiratory clinic (see details below)
    • visit a NSW Health COVID-19 clinic (see details below)
    • In an emergency dial 000

    You can use the healthdirect online Coronavirus Symptom Checker tool at the bottom of this section to find out what, if any, actions you need to take to protect yourself and your community.

     

    COVID-19 testing options: what are the differences?

    From Respiratory Clinics to self-collection test kits at home, click here to find out which testing option is best for you.

    Where can I get tested?

    Use the NSW Health ‘COVID-19 clinics’ tool to search for your nearest testing clinic by suburb, postcode or local council.

    It is important to ensure you are still taking care of your health during this unprecedented time. GPs and Allied Health Practitioners are here for you during COVID-19.

    Practices are taking extra measures to ensure patient welfare, so it is still safe to visit your GP, Physio, Podiatrist or Dietician.

    If you have a chronic disease, or if you are concerned about a change to your health, you must visit a health professional.

    You can contact your local practice to book a face-to-face appointment or arrange a telehealth consultation over the phone.

    The following videos have been designed to provide you with further information about using health care services during COVID-19.

    WE'RE HERE FOR YOU: Healthcare is open

    It is safe to return to your GPs, specialists, allied health professionals and hospitals during this time to receive regular healthcare.

    WE'RE HERE FOR YOU: Healthcare is open (Professor Sue Kurrle)

    Geriatrician, Professor Sue Kurrle, tells us why older Australians should look after their health in the times of COVID-19. It is safe to return to your GPs, specialists, allied health professionals and hospitals during this time to receive regular healthcare.

    WE'RE HERE FOR YOU - Healthcare is open so see your GP (RACGP President Dr Harry Nespolon)

    RACGP President, Dr Harry Nespolon shares the importance of maintaining your healthcare appointments during COVID-19.

    WE'RE HERE FOR YOU - Looking after your mental & physical health (Clinical and Counselling Psychologist Ros Knight)

    Clinical and Counselling Psychologist, Ros Knight, shares the importance of looking after your physical and mental health in the times of COVID-19.

    WE'RE HERE FOR YOU - Healthcare is open so visit your GP today! (Professor Simon Willcock)

    Local GP, Professor Simon Willcock shares the importance of maintaining your regular health check-ups during COVID-19.

    What is it?

    Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified.

    Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) was discovered in China in late 2019 when number of people in the province of Wuhan sought medical advice for pneumonia-like symptoms. When tested by doctors, it was discovered that these individuals had developed a strain of coronavirus that hadn’t been seen before.

    What are the symptoms?

    Coronavirus symptoms include fever, flu-like symptoms (coughing, sore throat, head aches) and difficulty breathing. Severity can range from from mild illness to pneumonia.

    Experts believe that this outbreak is likely to have originated in an animal species and spread to humans. Some countries, including Australia, have reported human-to-human transmission.

    How is it spread?

    Human coronaviruses are spread from someone with confirmed coronavirus to other close contacts with that person through contaminated droplets spread by coughing or sneezing, or by contact with contaminated hands, surfaces or objects.

    To help stop the spread of COVID-19 everyone should:

    • Find out what you can and can’t do in NSW under the new laws.
    • Practice good hygiene measures
      – make sure ​you clean your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand rub
      – cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with tissue or a flexed elbow
      – avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms
      – clean and disinfect your home or business to help to prevent the virus from spreading from contaminated surfaces
      – stay at home if you feel unwell or are experiencing any symptoms
    • Practice social distancing You should stay at least 1.5m away from others. Avoid physical greetings of any kind such as hugs or handshakes. Read more here.
    • Wear a mask in some situations – The NSW Government is strongly encouraging greater use of masks in high-risk public settings to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The advice from the NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant specifically recommends:
        • the use of face masks in indoor settings where physical distancing is hard to maintain, such as on public transport or in supermarkets
        • the use of face masks (where practical) in indoor settings with a higher risk of transmission, such as for the staff of hospitality and customer-facing venues i.e. cafes, restaurants, pubs and clubs
        • during attendance at places of worship.

      For a quick guide on how to wear a mask, click here. (NB: this resource is available on 67 other languages here.)

    Some people should:

    If you have been identified as a contact of a person with confirmed COVID-19 infection in Australia, the local public health unit will contact you with advice. You need to isolate yourself at home for 14 days after contact with the infected person, and to monitor your health and report any symptoms.

    Person-to-person spread of coronaviruses generally occurs between people who are close contacts with one another. A close contact is typically someone who has been face to face for at least 15 minutes, or been in the same closed space for at least 2 hours, with a person that was infectious. The public health unit will keep in touch with people who are close contacts of patients with COVID-19 infection. If any symptoms develop contacts must call the public health unit to report those symptoms.

     

    Click here for NSW Government advice on who needs to self-isolate, and how.

     

    More information about home isolation is available for:

    Mental and Emotional Wellbeing

    Many aspects of life are affected by a pandemic. Most people have little experience of an event like COVID-19 and it can be quite overwhelming when your health, social life, employment and financial situation are impacted. It is important to look after your mental health during this time. You can do this by:

     

    Physical care

    Nutrition

    Exercise

    Although it is may be more challenging to stay fit when self-quarantining, daily exercise is critical to overall physical and mental health. You could take up running, yoga, or other home workouts. There are many free online guides and mobile apps to guide you through home workouts. Some of these include:

     

    What if I need to see a doctor?


    If you need to see a doctor, call (don’t visit) your local practice. The staff will help you decide whether you require a face-to-face consultation, or a consultation over the phone or by video (‘telehealth’).

    • Telehealth is designed to protect you, your GP and the wider community by reducing the number of people visiting GP waiting rooms, where the virus could potentially spread
    • If you have symptoms such as fever, shortness of breath, headache, cough, sore throat or muscle aches, your doctor may refer you to a Respiratory Clinic or an Emergency Department. If you need a prescription your doctor will send this directly to your local pharmacy where you can collect it, or your pharmacy may be able to deliver to your home.

    The Home Medicines Service is available for people in home isolation and for vulnerable patient groups who wish to limit their potential exposure to novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the community. For more information click here.

     

    What if I need to see a dentist?

    As coronavirus restictions are eased and dental practices open up for the full range of dental procedures once again, the Australian Dental Association (ADA) is reminding people to book an appointment with their dentist.

    To find out more, read the ADA’s media release here.

    Accessing support services during COVID-19

    Mental Health Services

    Homelessness Services

    Domestic Violence Services

    Community feedback

    Do you have a ‘good news’ story about your community? If so, the Community Engagement Team at SNHN would love to hear from you. Perhaps a local business is supporting the vulnerable or you know someone who is going ‘above and beyond’ to help others. Email your story and any accompanying photographs to Community@snhn.org.au

    Breast cancer screening: Following a temporary suspension of services to protect the community, BreastScreen NSW will now gradually resume routine breast screening. Find out more at the BreastScreen NSW website.

    Cervical cancer screening: The Department of Health is monitoring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on health services. It is important for people to keep seeing their healthcare provider for their cervical screening and any follow-up investigations recommended. If you have received a reminder about your screening and have any questions or concerns, please call your doctor or healthcare provider to talk about your circumstances. More information on COVID-19 is available through the Department of Health website or through the COVID-19 hotline on 1800 020 080.

    Bowel cancer screening: During COVID-19, people eligible for bowel cancer screening will still receive invitations, test kits and reminder correspondence about bowel screening in the mail (as long as the mail is being delivered in your area). If you have a test kit at home, you should still do the test. For more details, read the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program COVID-19 FAQs. If you have any questions or concerns, please call your doctor or healthcare provider to talk about your circumstances. More information on COVID-19 is available through the Department of Health website or through the COVID-19 hotline on 1800 020 080.