29 March 2020
The COVID-19 emergency is rapidly evolving. Government advice is being updated constantly. The following information is a guideline only. Please check government websites for the latest information or call COVID Hotline –1800 020 080.
The RACGP has recommended that GPs should not treat or test patients suspected of COVID-19 unless they wear appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) which is in too short a supply to wear routinely, so if we are concerned you are a suspect case, we are going to direct you to either Royal North Shore Hospital (if you are very unwell) or to a collection centre for testing.
We are offering a telephone or video consultation service to provide you with appropriate advice, or our reception or nursing staff may assist you.
If you identify as having any respiratory infection symptoms on arrival at reception we will ask you to wait outside until called, to wear a mask and then call you in to an isolation room once the doctor is available. If are at high risk of the infection we may not be able to see you but will direct you to the correct health provider.
We are currently not seeing new patients without any relationship to our practice. We ask that you call your usual practice.
Testing is only allowed for ‘suspected’ cases, which means patients who have clinical symptoms AND overseas travel and/or have had Close Contact with a COVID-19 positive person, OR healthcare workers or other workers in places of high risk with fever (>37.5) and clinical symptoms. Public screening clinics currently will not test you unless you meet these criteria.
Close Contact is considered if you have had 15 minutes face to face contact or more than 2 hours in the same room, from 24 hours prior to the onset of their symptoms.
The Chief Medical Officer has confirmed that at present there is no definite requirement for individuals with cold or flu symptoms to be tested if they have no other risk factors for COVID-19. There are frequently several days delay in accessing testing via private pathology services. We can provide you with a telephone booking number and referral for testing if this is considered appropriate.
Quarantine refers to those patients at higher risk for disease but who don't necessarily have it. If you end up with a positive test when in quarantine you then need to 'Self Isolate' or go to hospital if very unwell.
You need to be in quarantine for 14 days if you:
have returned from overseas (any destination)
have had close contact with a COVID positive person.
you have symptoms of respiratory illness of cough, fever, sore throat, runny nose, muscle aches.
Those living with you do not need to be in quarantine, unless you are or become unwell or receive a positive test. The average incubation period is within 5 days of exposure but some are as long as 14 days. You should not go to work or school while you wait for a test results Or if you have clinical symptoms. Follow as much of the guidelines for Self Isolation as practical.
Self isolation refers to those patients who have tested positive and are well enough to stay at home. You can come out of self isolation if more than 7 days have passed since becoming unwell, you have felt well for more than 24 hrs, you have had 2 days without fever and you have had two tests 24 hrs apart that were negative.
You should stay at home.
You should not have any visitors.
You should not have any trips to shops, work or school, church, park, movies, chemist etc
Arrange for food to be delivered (and left at your doorstep).
Stay away as much as possible from others who live with you, sleep in another room from your partner if possible. Aim to keep a 1.5 m bubble around you. Use a separate bathroom if possible.
Eat away from others, don't share food or drink. The sick person gets out of the table setting, washing up or dishwasher unpacking.
When not completely isolated when in your home cover your mouth when coughing, wash your hands often, wipe touched surfaces or wear disposable gloves and a face mask.
Regularly clean surfaces - benches, tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles on drawers, toilets and taps, mobile phones, remote controls, keyboards.
Clothes can be washed as usual with other peoples clothes, but wash your hands after putting them in the machine.
Close the lid before flushing the toilet to reduce the risk of making the virus become airborne.
There are no public health requirements for clearance certificates to return to work, school or university.
Hot drinks, vitamin supplements, apple cider vinegar, gargling with salt and water will not eliminate the virus. Washing your hands regularly and avoiding touching your face are currently the most effective preventative measures. Continue to practice social distancing and only leave home for essential reasons.