On 11th March 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic in an effort to encourage countries to take a whole-of-government, whole-of-society approach to prevent further spread, save lives, and minimise the impact of coronavirus.
We understand our patients have a lot of questions about COVID-19, so we have prepared a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) below. Although this information is accurate as of today, the situation is rapidly evolving. We, therefore, encourage you to regularly check the Australian Government Department of Health’s website for the latest information.
Be assured that our clinics remain open for business and that we are actively taking steps to protect our patients, doctors, and staff during this challenging time. We’ve switched to consulting patients mostly via telephone. This change will protect the health and safety of our doctors, staff, and patients and is in line with the Australian Government’s recent announcement to extend MBS telehealth services to all Australians during the COVID-19 health emergency. Where face-to-face consults are necessary, we are taking extra precautions in our clinics to ensure everyone is protected from potential exposure to COVID-19, which may evolve over time. Measures might include taking people’s temperatures upon arrival and separating chairs in our waiting rooms to increase social distancing.
The health and safety of our doctors, staff, and patients are paramount. Thank you for your understanding; rest assured, we’re here for your ongoing health needs.
Every person across our country has an important role to play in helping to protect each other. The most critical mechanisms for protection at this point are personal distance and hygiene.
We all need to look out for each other and work together.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is COVID-19?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause respiratory infections. COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus not previously identified in humans. It was first reported in December 2019 in Wuhan, China. Since then, there has been a large and ongoing outbreak that has spread worldwide. While there is currently no existing immunity in our community, a vaccine is in development.
What is the latest Australian Government advice about COVID-19?
Up-to-date information and advice from the Australian Government on COVID-19 is available here.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms may include a fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, headache, or runny nose.In more severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia with severe acute respiratory distress.
How does the virus spread?
COVID-19 can spread from person to person through infected cough or sneeze droplets, or by touching contaminated surfaces or objects (tables, door handles, bags, etc.), and then a person touching their eyes, nose or mouth. It is thought the virus can survive on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. While most infected people show symptoms, a person might be infectious in the 24 hours beforehand. If exposed, a person might develop symptoms within 2 to 14 days, although symptoms will typically show in 5 to 6 days. If you come into close contact with a confirmed case, you will need to self-isolate for 14 days from the date of the last contact with the confirmed case.
Close contact is defined as requiring:
Contact needs to have occurred within the period extending 24 hours before the onset of symptoms.
What does ‘self-isolation’ actually mean?
At some stage, you may be required to self-isolate. Self-isolation means staying at home or in a hotel and away from situations where you could infect other people, ensuring you avoid close contact with others (that is face-to-face contact closer than 1 metre for more than 15 minutes), including:
You should avoid having visitors to your home, but people can drop off food and other necessities. Please follow the Australian Government and local State advice.
How can you protect yourself and your family?
The best way to protect yourself and your family from COVID-19 is to maintain personal distance and good hygiene.
Here are are a few simple tips to help you stay well:
The Raising Children website has a lot of useful information to help families to navigate the current COVID-19 situation.
How is COVID-19 diagnosed?
If a person meets state or territory testing criteria, a swab from the back of the nose and throat can be taken by a doctor, hospital, or designated testing facility. The sample is then tested for evidence of the virus, resulting in a ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ result.
Who is most at risk of COVID-19?
In Australia, the people thought to be most at risk of getting COVID-19 coronavirus infections are those who have:
What do I do if I’m worried that I’ve been infected with COVID-19?
Stay at home.
The Australian Government has developed a free online COVID-19 Symptom Checker.
If you’re concerned, you can call the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080 for information and advice about COVID-19. The line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
If you experience a medical emergency, call 000.
Coronavirus Health Alert
As the threat level of COVID-19 is currently low in South Australia, we’re now offering face-to-face appointments. We continue to monitor the situation in other States closely.
We also observe social distancing >1.5m and limit the number of patients in our waiting room.
If you have symptoms of fever, flu, a cold, or a loss of sense of smell or taste, then a COVID-19 test is necessary. If you require help to arrange this, please book a telephone consult with a GP first, and an appropriate safe review can be arranged.
For patients with other conditions who would prefer a telephone or video consult, these appointments continue to be available.
Please be aware that a private or gap fee may be incurred for telephone or video consults from 1st October 2020.
Medicare GP telehealth items are restricted to circumstances where a patient has an existing relationship with a general practice (i.e. the patient has visited a GP in the practice face-to-face in the last 12 months), other than for children aged under 12 months or patients who are homeless.
Please be assured that our clinic is COVID-19 safe, and we remain prepared to transition back to telephone triage of all consults should COVID-19 threat levels increase.