general PRACTICE INFORMATION PACK
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residential aged care provider information pack
Last Updated 2 April 2020
The Department of Health and Human Services is asking health professionals across the sector to watch out for signs and symptoms of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) infection in patients who may have travelled to areas affected by an emerging outbreak.
Queensland has 835 confirmed cases of COVID-19
For more information on these cases, please visit the Department of Health Health Alerts page.
The Prime Minister has announced the activation of the Australian Health Sector Emergency Response Plan for COVID-19. View the document here.
On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) have made the assessment to categorise the coronavirus outbreak a Pandemic. Describing the situation as a pandemic does not change WHO's assessment of the threat posed by the virus, or what they are doing to combat the spread.
The Australian Government has unveiled a comprehensive $2.4 billion health package to protect Australians, including vulnerable groups such as the elderly, those with chronic conditions and Indigenous communities, from COVID-19. The package includes a collection of resources for the general public, health professionals and industry.
For Queensland Health-endorsed management pathways, go to WQ HealthPathways.
View resources for health professionals, including aged care providers, pathology providers and healthcare managers from Department of Health.
About Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can make humans and animals sick. They cause illnesses that can range from the common cold to more severe disease
Coronavirus was first reported in December 2019 in Wuhan City in China.
Other coronaviruses include Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
Who is at risk:
In Australia, the people most at risk of getting the virus are those who have:
- recently returned from overseas
- recently been in mainland China or Iran
- been in close contact with someone who is a confirmed case of coronavirus
Queensland Health has advised that current advice around testing for COVID-19 is that patients they will not be tested unless they have met the criteria for one of the above.
Symptoms can range from mild illness to pneumonia. Some people will recover easily, and others may get very sick very quickly. People with COVID-19 may experience:
- Flu-like symptoms such as a cough, sore throat or headache
- Shortness of breath
Below is a comparison between the COVID-19 and cold or flu from the World Health Organisation.
You can also use the healthdirect Symptom Checker tool to guide you to the appropriate healthcare action, updated with information on novel coronavirus. It is also available on the healthdirect app.
How it spreads
There is evidence that the virus spreads from person-to-person.
The virus is most likely spread through:
- close contact with an infectious person
- contact with droplets from an infected person’s cough or sneeze
- touching objects or surfaces (like doorknobs or tables) that have cough or sneeze droplets from an infected person, and then touching the mouth or face
Surgical masks in the community are only helpful in preventing people who have COVID-19 from spreading it to others. If you are well, you do not need to wear a surgical mask as there is little evidence supporting the widespread use of surgical masks in healthy people to prevent transmission in public.
Find out more in our fact sheet about the use of surgical masks.
Everyone should practise good hygiene to protect against infections. Good hygiene includes:
- washing your hands often with soap and water
- using a tissue and cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze
- avoiding close contact with others, such as touching
Read more about protective measures against coronavirus on the World Health Organisation website.
If you have a confirmed case, you need to isolate yourself to prevent it spreading to other people.
Help and assistance for Consumers
Healthdirect Australia has worked with the Department of Health to establish the Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080 for non-clinical information about the COVID-19 to the public.
The original healthdirect helpline on 1800 022 222 is to speak to a registered nurse who will triage callers with symptoms.
Due to unprecedented high number of callers to both lines, people can also find answers to common questions at the healthdirect website coronavirus hub.
Click below for latest communications sent by WQPHN: