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Barwon Health / Coronavirus (COVID-19)

DHHS hotline 1800 675 398

What is coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans.

COVID-19 is a new virus that can cause an infection in people, including a severe respiratory illness.

The most recently discovered coronavirus causes coronavirus disease COVID-19.

How is coronavirus spread?

COVID-19 spreads through close contact with an infected person; mostly face-to-face or within a household. It cannot jump across a room or be carried for long distances in the air so we should all go about our lives as normal. 

What is close contact?

Close contact means greater than 15 minutes face-to-face or the sharing of a closed space for more than two hours with a confirmed case. The contact may be during the 48 hours prior to onset of symptoms and until the case is no longer considered infectious.

A close contact could include any person meeting any of the following criteria:

  • living in the same household or household-like setting (for example, a boarding school or hostel)
  • direct contact with the body fluids or laboratory specimens of a confirmed case 
  • a person who spent two hours or longer in the same room 
  • face-to-face contact for more than 15 minutes with the case in any other setting not listed above.

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

Many people who contract COVID–19 will suffer only mild symptoms. However early indications are that the elderly and people with pre-existing medical conditions are more at risk of experiencing severe symptoms. 

The most common coronavirus symptoms reported include:

  • Fever
  • Breathing difficulties such as breathlessness
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue or tiredness
  • Loss of sense of smell or taste.

I am feeling unwell, what should I do?

If you are in any of these risk categories and begin to feel unwell and develop a fever or shortness of breath, a cough or respiratory illness you should seek immediate medical attention. 

Call ahead to your GP or emergency department so they can prepare appropriate infection control measures. 

If you have serious symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, call 000 and ask for an ambulance and tell the operator your recent travel history.

I have been asked to self-isolate, what does this mean?

This document has been developed for people who have been asked to self-isolate due to COVID-19. 

If you are concerned please call the Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398.  

What can I do to reduce my risk of coronavirus infection?

  • Wash hands often with soap and running water, for at least 20 seconds. Dry with paper towel or hand dryer.
  • Try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have a tissue cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow.
  • Stay at home if you feel sick. If you take medication make sure you have enough.
  • Phone your doctor or the hotline – 1800 675 398 – if you need medical attention. They will tell you what to do.
  • Continue healthy habits: exercise, drink water, get plenty of sleep.

COVID-19 and family violence

It is important that anyone experiencing family violence knows that this is never okay, no matter the circumstances or the situation. With the impact of physical distancing rules, isolation and stress on families, there has been a spike in reports of domestic violence in the broader community. If you or someone you know is experiencing violence and need help or support, please seek help. 

Call 000 for police if you are in immediate danger.

To find local services near you and phone support lines: Barwon Health Family Violence resources

Stay informed

Social Distancing

Older Australians

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Last Modified: Friday, 22 October 2021