There is currently a lot of information around the coronavirus which is changing daily. It appears to be spreading and is in the majority of countries now. It has also spread to those who have not travelled. It is important to be aware of how you can help yourself and your community stay safe during this time.

What is coronavirus

The Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that causes illnesses from the common cold to more severe respiratory diseases.

The Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new strain not identified in humans previously.

Initial infections to humans were acquired from exposure to infected animals at the live animal markets in Wuhan china.

Symptoms of Cornovirus are:

Fever

Cough

Sore throat

Tiredness

Shortness of breath

Current advice:

Self-isolate for 14 days (stay at home and avoid public places) if

  1. In the last 14 days you have left or transited through Mainland China or Iran
  2. Had contact with someone with a confirmed case of the virus

Information on self-isolation can be found at:

https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/202002/Home%20Isolation%20Guidance%20-%201%20Feb%202020.pdf

Up until now all confirmed cases of coronavirus were in those who had arrived from other countries, however we now have a case in Sydney where the infected patient did not travel overseas.

It is currently advised that if you develop symptoms and have travelled to any of the following countries you must mention this to your doctor before leaving your house

Cambodia

Hong Kong

Indonesia

Iran

Italy

Japan

Singapore

South Korea

Thailand

If you develop symptom’s

Contact your doctor or ED department by telephone and tell them your travel history or if you have been in contact with someone with a confirmed virus

Remain at home until you get advice

If very sick call 000

Our practice policy

If you have symptoms suggestive of coronavirus and call our practice we will first ask you your travel history

If you have travelled through or into any of the countries listed above within the last 14 days we will ask you to provide your travel history and current symptom’s

Our receptionist will then call our doctor and ask their advice

Our doctor will then advise what to do. This may vary from an initial phone consultation or telehealth consultation. Or they may advise you to go to ED.

We ask that you stay isolated at home until you have heard back from our receptionists or doctor.

Who is at risk

Like most viruses symptoms can vary in severity. Some with the virus may not get sick at all, in others the symptoms will vary from being very mild to being very ill.

People most at risk of getting very ill are:

Those with a compromised immune systems

Elderly

Babies

Those with chronic medical conditions

Incubation period

The incubation period is not yet fully known but the current view is that it can be up to 14 days from contact with the virus until symptoms are seen.

Spread

Spread is from person to person by respiratory droplets by:

Close contact with a confirmed case who coughs or sneezes

Touching objects or surfaces (door handles or tables) contaminated from a cough or sneeze from an infected person, then touching your mouth or face.

Most infections are only transmitted when the person has symptoms.

As a precaution an infectious period of 24 hours prior to the onset of symptom’s is being used to manage close contacts.

How to Prevent Spread

Good hand and sneeze / cough hygiene

  • Wash hand frequently with soap and water before and after eating and going to toilet
  • Cover your cough and sneeze with a flexed elbow
  • Dispose of tissues
  • Use alcohol sanitiser
  • If unwell avoid contact with others ( touching, kissing, hugging)
  • Avoid close contact with anyone with a fever and cough

Prevention

No current vaccine is available – this is being worked on but could take up to 18 months to make and test one

Face mask

Face mask are not currently recommended for use by healthy members of the public for prevention of getting the infection

Those with suspected or confirmed cases of coronavirus should wear a surgical mask when in contact with others

Treatment

Currently there are no specific medications recommended to prevent or treat the new coronavirus. Measures are supportive only.

Travel advice

If you are planning travel we urge you to follow advice from the following website

www.smarttraveller.gov.au

Where you can access further information

www.health.gov.au

Coronavirus Information line 1800 020 080