Home

>

News

>

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.

Information for health professionals

Latest testing criteria from NSW Health

https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/diseases/Pages/2019-ncov-case-definition.aspx

 

Updated information and advice for health professionals

 

Coronavirus at a glance

This Australian Government Department of Health infographic is designed to give an overview of the COVID-19 situation in Australia and is updated daily. Click here to view the infographic.

 

Business continuity: financial assistance for General Practices struggling due to COVID-19

Temporary measures under the Practice Incentives Program (PIP) and Workforce Incentive Program (WIP) to help ensure business continuity: click here.

 

Recommendations for managing vulnerable healthcare workers are available at the NSW Health website.

 

Supporting patients and your local community during COVID-19

Aboriginal communities

Activating family networks during the pandemic

Child protection issues and practice considerations

Partnering with women and children experiencing violence

Talking to children and families about COVID-19

 

Supporting people with disabilities during COVID-19

Information for health workers in emergency departments supporting people with disability

  • information and guidance for health workers in emergency departments (EDs) who provide health care to people with intellectual or developmental disability during the COVID-19 pandemic

Information for health workers in hospitals supporting people with disability

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

Information for health workers supporting people with disability

  • information and guidance for health workers providing care to people with intellectual or developmental disability

Information for health and mental health workers supporting people with disability

  • information and guidance for health and mental health workers providing care to people with intellectual or developmental disability

Information for primary health care services supporting people with disability

  • information and guidance for primary health care staff and services, including general practitioners (GPs), providing care to people with intellectual or developmental disability

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: https://covid-19training.com.au/

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

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

Dementia Australia have released four help sheets which outline tips for people living with dementia and the carers or friends and family of those living with dementia.

To find out more click here.

 

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

 

Guidance for Aged Care Facilities – NSW Health

https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/diseases/Pages/coronavirus-racf-guidance.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

 

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

 

Dementia

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.

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 30 September 2020 (inclusive), 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.

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

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. The locum tenens are provisions in the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) that allow eligible doctors and any other health professionals claiming Medicare benefits to use their existing provider number at a new practice, based on the following:

  • you’re operating from the new location for less than 12 weeks
  • you’ll return to your usual practice location after this time.

This arrangement isn’t available for restricted health professionals. This includes doctors who need a section 19AB exemption, a 3GA placement or are participants of the OMPs program. Restricted health professionals will still need to apply for an additional provider number to get Medicare benefits from a new location.

Adapted from: https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/organisations/health-professionals/subjects/coronavirus-information-health-professionals#locumtenens

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.

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

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.

Dee Why Respiratory Clinic

This General Practitioner-operated respiratory clinic and COVID-19 testing centre has been established in collaboration with the Australian Government Department of Health and Sydney North Health Network. The clinic will assess people with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms (a fever, cough, shortness of breath, a sore throat and/or tiredness) or who may have chest colds, flu and other respiratory infections or are experiencing unusual shortness of breath.

People of all ages accepted (including newborns, toddlers and school-age children).

Hours: Mon – Sat, 8 AM – 5 PM (by appointment only)

Appointment-based only. There is no charge for patients.

Bookings may be made by clicking on the link: https://www.hotdoc.com.au/medical-centres/dee-why-NSW-2099/dee-why-respiratory-clinic/doctors/appointment/for-you/first-visit/39551/times?purpose=respiratory

Website: http://www.deewhyrespiratoryclinic.com.au/

For people who do not have internet access, please phone 8416 5005.

 

Roseville Respiratory Clinic

To support the health and safety of our community, in conjunction with the Australian Government Department of Health, the Rose Centre has established a separate free respiratory clinic. This clinic assesses all patients with minor cold and flu symptoms and offers free COVID-19 testing. Test results will be communicated to patients within 48 hours.

People of all ages accepted (including newborns, toddlers and school-age children).

Hours: Mon – Fri, 8 AM – 4:30 PM  |  Saturday, 8 AM – 12:30 PM (by appointment only)

For bookings call or text name and preferred time: 0434 189 047 or 0422 991 731

More information: Roseville Respiratory Clinic

 

Ryde Respiratory Clinic

The WiSE Clinic team has worked with the Australian Government Department of Health, MQ Health and Sydney North Health Network to establish the Ryde Respiratory Clinic to assess people with mild-moderate respiratory symptoms and test and diagnose cases including COVID-19, influenza and pneumonia.

People of all ages accepted (including newborns, toddlers and school-age children).

The clinic will be appointment based until further notice. There is no charge for patients.

Hours: 8 AM – 9 PM, Monday to Sunday (by appointment only)

Appointments can be made by clicking on the following link (no walk-ins): Ryde Respiratory Clinic

Follow this link to find out how to book an appointment at the Ryde Respiratory Clinic: https://sydneynorthhealthnetwork.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/RRC-booking-process-v1.2.pdf

For people that do not have internet access, please phone 9216 7676 to book an appointment and follow the prompts.

 

NSW Health COVID-19 clinics

In the Northern Sydney region, NSW Health COVID-19 clinics are located at:

  • Brookvale Community Health Centre (pop-up clinic)
  • Hillview Community Health Centre, Turramurra
  • Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital
  • Mona Vale Hospital
  • Northern Beaches Hospital (patient factsheet available here)
  • Royal North Shore Hospital
  • Ryde Hospital
  • St Ives Community Centre (pop-up clinic, operating until Sun 28 June 2020)

For details of each location, click here. You do not need to make an appointment to attend one of these clinics.

 

NSW Health collection centres

NSW Health COVID-19 collection centre St Leonards, Royal North Shore Community Health Centre, 2C Herbert Street

  • Monday – Saturday, 9:00am – 4:30pm
  • All patients must have a pathology request form (from their health professional) for coronavirus testing prior to calling the booking hotline. (Booking hotline available Mon–Fri 9 am–5 pm, Sat 9 am–12 pm.)
  • To arrange an appointment call the booking hotline: 1800 026 622.

 

Private pathology

Frenchs Forest
  • Frenchs Forest MedLab: 8 Hilmer Street, Frenchs Forest, 2086 NSW. Ph: 9452 6065
  • Frenchs Forest Douglass Hanly Moir (a COVID-19 only collection centre): Mon – Fri, 8am – 4pm, appointment only. 5 Forestway, Frenchs Forest NSW 2086. Ph: (02) 9451 6962
North Narrabeen
North Ryde
  • 4cyte North Ryde drive-through testing: GPs can fill out an electronic pathology request form here and ensure they follow the referral requirements at 4cyte.com.au/Covid19_Location_North_Ryde.php
  • Laverty North Ryde drive-through testing: see referral instructions here
  • Douglass Hanly Moir North Ryde: 95 Epping Rd, North Ryde NSW 2113. Ph: 1800 026 622. 8:30am – 3:30pm, Mon – Sat, appointment only
Macquarie Park
  • Douglass Hanly Moir drive-through testing, Macquarie Park: 95 Epping Road, Macquarie Park. 7 days, 8.30 am–3.30 pm. Please note: patients must have a pathology request form for COVID-19 testing from their health professional prior to calling the Douglass Hanly Moir Booking Hotline on 1800 026 622 or (02) 9111 3405.
Mosman
  • Douglass Hanly Moir drive-through COVID-19 testing clinic (at The Mosman Practice on Melrose St).  Open 11.00am-4.30pm. Offers testing for people aged 5 years and over.

 

Balmoral Medical Practice: Respiratory Assessment & Testing Clinic

Balmoral Medical Practice has established a physically separate Respiratory Assessment & Testing Clinic at the rear of the regular practice to assess and treat all cases of respiratory illness including COVID-19, influenza and the common cold. This private clinic has a separate entry and separate waiting area, ensuring that those who need to see their GP for other reasons can do so safely in the usual consulting rooms.

Please note:

  • The afternoon Respiratory Assessment Clinic assesses all adults and children with respiratory symptoms, including cough, runny nose, fevers, or sinus congestion, throughout winter.
  • Please book into this clinic if you have any such symptoms.
  • On arrival please call reception by mobile phone. Remain in your car in the rear upper carpark. When available, the doctor will guide you from your car into the clinic.
  • The clinic will provide advice and test results to patients assessed, follow up all patients until they are well (or refer them into hospital if very unwell).

Bookings: Balmoral Medical Practice Respiratory Clinic

Location: 148-152 Spit Road, Mosman, NSW, 2088

Phone: 02 8209 3999

Hours: 4-6pm (Monday – Thursday), 4-5pm (Friday)

Cost: Balmoral Medical Practice’s standard time-based fees apply – see here for details

Video link: https://youtu.be/kwQ-c5TqHWA

Beecroft General Practice: Respiratory Assessment & Testing Clinic

Beecroft General Practice has opened a new separate section at the rear of the practice to assess and treat all patients with fever, runny nose, sore throat, cough or other flu-like/respiratory symptoms. This clinic has a separate entry and a separate waiting area to ensure the safety of patients attending the main practice for regular checks and all other acute health problems.

Please note:

If patients are experiencing symptoms such as runny nose, cough, sore throat or fever, they should call the Clinic on 9484 1552 to make an appointment.

  • Patients will be booked in for an appointment with a Doctor, and advised to call the practice staff from the carpark at the allocated time.
  • The doctor will do a telephonic assessment, then direct the patient to the Respiratory Clinic at the rear entrance of the practice which is located at the rear of the building, where a swab for COVID-19 can be done.
  • If a COVID-19 swab is performed, patients are strictly required to self-isolate at home until the results are given to them via telephone by a medical professional, which is usually within 24-48 hours of the swab being collected.

Bookings: Call the practice  9484 1552  Beecroft General Practice

Location: 8a/ 6-8 Hannah Street, Beecroft 2119

Hours: 8:30 – 4:45pm Monday – Friday  (no Sat clinic)

Cost: Patients attending the Respiratory Clinic will be bulk-billed.

HotDoc

HotDoc has provided detailed instructions on how you can create a coronavirus alert message to your online bookings profile to ensure thorough triage protocols are used during this heightened time. Visit: https://support.hotdoc.com.au/hc/en-gb/articles/360038868532-Creating-an-alert-message-for-an-emerging-health-concern.

 

HealthEngine

Practices who use HealthEngine for appointment bookings are encouraged to update their initial booking message to request patients call their GP, Emergency Department or healthdirect for advice before attending if they have symptoms and meet the criteria that could indicate novel coronavirus.

To update this message, practices need to log into their HealthEngine profile, go to Practice Admin Settings, click on Practice Policy and from here the first message that potential patients see can be customised with this information. If you need more information or would like additional support, please contact HealthEngine directly on the following phone number: 1300 377 639.

 

Docbook

The Docbook team is able to implement alerts for your practice by request. Please contact them at info@doctorbook.com.au with the exact text that you would like displayed and they can implement this for you.

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.

 

COVID19 ‘The Facts’ Video – Professor Simon Willcock, MQ Health GP and Director of Primary Care at Macquarie University Hospital

Professor Simon Willcock presents this COVID-19 video which provides an overview of:

  • How the virus is spread
  • Practical steps to prevent catching or spreading the disease
  • How to identify the symptoms of COVID-19
  • Where to find general advice and information about the disease
  • What to do if you develop any of the symptoms of COVID-19

In addition to Simon’s roles as a practising GP and a Director of Primary Care, he is also Chair of the Avant Mutual Group, a board member of Sydney North Health Network, the NSW Doctors’ Health Advisory Service and a member of the NSW AMA Council of General Practice.

 

Multilingual Resources

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

SBS On Demand – Coronavirus Explained in Your Language

 

Australian Government Department of Health COVID-19 Fact Sheets

Frequently Asked Questions

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 

COVID-19 information for hotel guests 

 

NSW Health and Australian Government Department of Health Information

NSW Health Novel coronavirus FAQs

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

Australian Government Department of Health Watch

Australian Government Department of Health Novel coronavirus (2019-nCov) information on the use of surgical masks.

 

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.

 

Information for people who are deaf or hearing-impaired

Expression Australia is providing regular Auslan-only video updates accompanied by a English text summary – view them here. These will also be posted on their social media channels: FacebookInstagramTwitter.

 

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

 

 

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

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:

  • Stay at home unless you are an essential worker, you need to shop for groceries or you are exercising. This is important to help protect vulnerable people from the virus. Find out what you can and can’t do in NSW under the new laws. In particular, anyone over 70 years of age (or over 60 if they have a long-term illness, or over 50 if they are from an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background) should stay at home as these age groups are most likely to suffer from serious complications. Visitors to residential aged care facilities are also limited  or this reason.
  • 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 other people at all times and be with no more than 1 other person in any indoor and outdoor space. Avoid physical greetings of any kind such as hugs or handshakes.

 

Some people should:

 

Australian Government Department of Health COVID-19 Resources

Information on social distancing

Information about routine environmental cleaning and disinfection in the community

 

Posters for your home or workplace – effective handwashing or use of alcohol-based handrub

The NSW Government has appealed to individuals and businesses to take action over the coming months in preparing for a potential COVID-19 pandemic coinciding with the winter flu. Following is an excerpt from the NSW Minister for Health and Medical Research’s media release:

Health Minister Brad Hazzard and Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said NSW Health has planned extensively for a pandemic and further strengthened its response since the SARS, MERS and H1N1 “swine flu” threats, but everyone plays a role in prevention.

“Simple hygiene measures like regular hand washing, sneezing into your elbow and, most importantly, staying home when sick, will not only help ease ED presentations for flu but also support existing COVID-19 pandemic plans,” Mr Hazzard said.

“Businesses also need to review their continuity plans now. Look at strategies for keeping workers safe with simple measures such as alcohol hand rub in the workplace, stress the importance of staying home when sick, and use technologies that allow people to work from home where necessary.

“We also ask everyone to please see your GP for minor illnesses and injuries where possible, to ensure we keep our EDs for emergencies only, particularly as we head into the busy flu season.”

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

 

If your contact with the person was less than this, there is a much smaller risk of you being infected. However, as a precaution you must still monitor your health until 14 days after you were last exposed to the infectious person. If you develop symptoms including a fever and/or respiratory signs, please call ahead to talk to a doctor or call healthdirect on 1800 022 222. Tell your doctor that you have been in contact with someone with COVID-19. The doctor may tell you to attend your nearest emergency department – if so when you arrive, immediately tell staff you have had contact with someone with COVID-19.

More information about home isolation is available for:

Do I need to get tested for COVID-19?

From 24th April anyone with Coronavirus symptoms should get tested. Click here for further information.

Symptoms can range from mild illness to pneumonia. Some people will recover easily, and others may get very sick very quickly.

People with coronavirus may experience:

  • fever
  • cough
  • tiredness (fatigue)
  • sore throat
  • shortness of breath.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms you can:

  • call your GP
  • call Healthdirect on 1800 022 222 or use the Healthdirect symptom checker at the bottom of this section
  • 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 DIY self-collection test kits at home click here to find out which testing option is best for you.

 

Dee Why Respiratory Clinic

This General Practitioner-operated respiratory clinic and COVID-19 testing centre has been established in collaboration with the Australian Government Department of Health and Sydney North Health Network. The clinic will assess people with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms (a fever, cough, shortness of breath, a sore throat and/or tiredness) or who may have chest colds, flu and other respiratory infections or are experiencing unusual shortness of breath.

People of all ages accepted (including newborns, toddlers and school-age children).

Open Mon – Sat, 8am – 5pm (by appointment only).

There is no charge for patients. Bookings may be made by clicking on the link: https://www.hotdoc.com.au/medical-centres/dee-why-NSW-2099/dee-why-respiratory-clinic/doctors/appointment/for-you/first-visit/39551/times?purpose=respiratory

Website: http://www.deewhyrespiratoryclinic.com.au/

For people who do not have internet access, please phone 8416 5005.

Dee Why Respiratory Clinic FAQs

 

Roseville Respiratory Clinic

To support the health and safety of our community, in conjunction with the Australian Government Department of Health, the Rose Centre has established a separate free respiratory clinic. This clinic will assess all patients with minor cold and flu symptoms and offers free COVID-19 testing. Test results will be communicated to you within 48 hours.

People of all ages accepted (including newborns, toddlers and school-age children).

Hours: Mon – Fri, 8 AM – 4:30 PM  |  Saturday, 8 AM – 12:30 PM (by appointment only)

For bookings call or text name and preferred time: 0434 189 047 or 0422 991 731

More information: Roseville Respiratory Clinic

 

Ryde Respiratory Clinic

The Ryde Respiratory Clinic assesses people with mild-moderate respiratory symptoms, and tests and diagnoses cases including COVID-19, influenza and pneumonia. It was set up by the WiSE Clinic, the Australian Government Department of Health, MQ Health and Sydney North Health Network.

Open 8am – 9pm, 7 days.

People of all ages accepted (including newborns, toddlers and school-age children).

You need to make an appointment, but there is no charge.

To make an appointment, click here. This flowchart will help guide you through the booking process: Ryde Respiratory Clinic Booking Process.

For people that do not have internet access, please phone 9216 7676 to book an appointment, and follow the prompts.

For other respiratory clinics in NSW, click here.

 

NSW Health COVID-19 clinics

In the Northern Sydney region, NSW Health COVID-19 clinics are located at:

  • Brookvale Community Health Centre (pop-up clinic)
  • Hillview Community Health Centre, Turramurra
  • Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital
  • Mona Vale Hospital
  • Northern Beaches Hospital (see patient factsheet here)
  • Royal North Shore Hospital
  • Ryde Hospital

For details of these clinics and all other COVID-19 clinics throughout NSW, click here.

 

NSW Health collection centres

NSW Health COVID-19 collection centre St Leonards, Royal North Shore Community Health Centre, 2C Herbert Street

  • Monday – Saturday, 9:00am – 4:30pm
  • All patients must have a pathology request form (from their health professional) for coronavirus testing prior to calling the booking hotline. (Booking hotline available Mon–Fri 9 am–5 pm, Sat 9 am–12 pm.)
  • To arrange an appointment call the booking hotline: 1800 026 622.

 

Private pathology
Frenchs Forest
  • Frenchs Forest MedLab: 8 Hilmer Street, Frenchs Forest, 2086 NSW. Ph: 9452 6065
  • Frenchs Forest Douglass Hanly Moir (a COVID-19 only collection centre): Mon – Fri, 8am – 4pm, appointment only. 5 Forestway, Frenchs Forest NSW 2086. Ph: (02) 9451 6962
Macquarie Park
  • Douglass Hanly Moir drive-through testing, Macquarie Park: 95 Epping Road, Macquarie Park. 7 days, 8.30 am–3.30 pm. Please note: patients must have a pathology request form for COVID-19 testing from their health professional prior to calling the Douglass Hanly Moir Booking Hotline on 1800 026 622 or (02) 9111 3405.
Mosman
  • Douglass Hanly Moir drive-through COVID-19 testing clinic (at The Mosman Practice on Melrose St).  Open 11.00am-4.30pm. Offers testing for people aged 5 years and over.
North Narrabeen
North Ryde
  • 4cyte North Ryde drive-through testing: GPs can fill out an electronic pathology request form here and ensure they follow the referral requirements at 4cyte.com.au/Covid19_Location_North_Ryde.php
  • Laverty North Ryde drive-through testing: see referral instructions here
  • Douglass Hanly Moir North Ryde: 95 Epping Rd, North Ryde NSW 2113. Ph: 1800 026 622. 8:30am – 3:30pm, Mon – Sat, appointment only

 

Balmoral Medical Practice: Respiratory Assessment & Testing Clinic

Balmoral Medical Practice has established a physically separate Respiratory Assessment & Testing Clinic at the rear of the regular practice to assess and treat all cases of respiratory illness including COVID-19, influenza and the common cold. This private clinic has a separate entry and separate waiting area, ensuring that those who need to see their GP for other reasons can do so safely in the usual consulting rooms.

Please note:

  • The afternoon Respiratory Assessment Clinic assesses all adults and children with respiratory symptoms, including cough, runny nose, fevers, or sinus congestion, throughout winter.
  • Please book into this clinic if you have any such symptoms.
  • On arrival please call reception by mobile phone. Remain in your car in the rear upper carpark. When available, the doctor will guide you from your car into the clinic.
  • The clinic will provide advice and test results to patients assessed, follow up all patients until they are well (or refer them into hospital if very unwell).

Bookings: Balmoral Medical Practice Respiratory Clinic

Location: 148-152 Spit Road, Mosman, NSW, 2088

Phone: 02 8209 3999

Hours: 4-6pm (Monday – Thursday), 4-5pm (Friday)

Cost: Balmoral Medical Practice’s standard time-based fees apply – see here for details

Video link: https://youtu.be/kwQ-c5TqHWA

 

Beecroft General Practice: Respiratory Assessment & Testing Clinic

Beecroft General Practice has opened a new separate section at the rear of the practice to assess and treat all patients with fever, runny nose, sore throat, cough or other flu-like/respiratory symptoms. This clinic has a separate entry and a separate waiting area to ensure the safety of patients attending the main practice for regular checks and all other acute health problems.

Please note:

If you are experiencing symptoms such as runny nose, cough, sore throat or fever, please call the Clinic on 9484 1552 to make an appointment.

  • You will be booked in for an appointment with a Doctor, and advised to call us from the carpark at the allocated time.
  • The doctor will do a telephonic assessment, then direct you to the Respiratory Clinic at the rear entrance of the practice which is located at the rear of the building, where a swab for Covid-19 can be done.
  • If a Covid-19 swab is performed, you are strictly required to self-isolate at home until the results are given to you over the phone by a medical professional, which is usually within 24-48 hours of the swab being collected.

Bookings: Call the practice  9484 1552  Beecroft General Practice

Location: 8a/ 6-8 Hannah Street, Beecroft 2119

Hours: 8:30 – 4:45pm Monday – Friday  (no Sat clinic)

Cost: Patients attending the Respiratory Clinic will be bulk-billed.

COVID-19

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:

  • Spending time outside during the day if possible – fresh air and daylight will help you sleep and improve your overall mood.
  • While it’s normal to feel anxious or uncertain during this time, you can seek help if these feelings start to affect your everyday functioning. There are a number of free support services, resources and mobile apps available:
  • Way2Wellness
  • Head to Health
  • Beyond Blue
  • Black Dog Institute
  • Time 2 Talk: 1300 022 966 Free telephone support service for members of the NSW community around a range of COVID-19 related challenges relating to individuals, couples, families, and households. Time 2 Talk is a telephone service staffed by a team of qualified relationship counsellors and social workers.
  • Clevertar (Available on Apple iStore or Google Play)
  • Headspace: Meditation and sleep (Available on Apple iStore or Google Play)
  • Smiling Mind (Available on Apple iStore or Google Play)
  • If you know children or a young people who are feeling concerned by the situation, this 6-minute video from SchoolTV can help your family feel informed.
  • Listen to the COVID-19: Fear and Anxiety SoundCloud panel discussion from Sydney Ideas (The University of Sydney)
  • Remember – stay on top of the facts, but limit your exposure to the hype!

 

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

With the exception of essential workers, most people are now working from home. You may also be sharing your home office with partners, housemates or family members who are working or learning remotely.

For most, this will be a new way of working. Here are some suggestions on how to get the best out of your working day:

  • Maintain a routine much as possible – and make room in it for things you enjoy
  • Ensure each person has their own work station
  • Take a 2-minute stretch break every 30 minutes [app and stretch sheet]
  • Exercise at least once each day, preferably outside in the daylight
  • Eat lunch away from your workstation
  • Speak to at least one person from school, work or university each weekday by telephone or video call

 

Tips for home schooling

Educational online games for kids

 

Activities for children

 

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

What can we do to stay socially connected?

Social distancing doesn’t have to mean social isolation.

 


Job Loss

With many businesses having to close their doors lots of people are facing unemployment. The stress and uncertainty of losing a job can weigh heavily on individual conscience and  on relationships. Consider the following to support friends and family in this situation:

  • Acknowledge the person’s concerns
  • “Suggest looking into the new Australian Government financial supports for those who’ve lost employment resulting from the COVID-19 measures. These include freezing mortgage repayments and changes to Newstart allowance through Centrelink. Find out more here.
  • Encourage them to keep their body and mind active. It is important to find new hobbies and exercise to alleviate stress and anxiety.

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.