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Coronavirus Patient Information

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If you suspect you may have the novel coronavirus, please call the dedicated hotline on 1800 675 398. Please keep Triple Zero (000) for emergencies only. If you are ill and have travelled to an area of the world where there is active transmission of novel coronavirus in the 14 days prior to onset of your illness, you should call ahead to your general practitioner before attending, and inform them of your concern.

What is this virus?

  Coronaviruses can make humans and animals sick. Some coronaviruses can cause illness similar to the common cold and others can cause more serious diseases, including Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). The virus was first detected in Wuhan, China. It is called a ‘novel’ virus because it is new, and has not been detected before this outbreak.

How is the virus spread?

  Most people who were infected live in, or have travelled to, mainland China, in particular Hubei Province. There have been some cases of 2019-nCoV reported in other Chinese provinces and other countries. It is likely that the virus originally came from an animal, and there is some evidence that it can spread from person to person. The virus is most likely to spread from person to person through: • direct contact with a person whilst they are infectious • contact with droplets when a person with a confirmed infection coughs or sneezes; or • touching objects or surfaces (such as door knobs or tables) that were contaminated by droplets from secretions coughed or sneezed from a person with a confirmed infection, and then touching your mouth or face. Close contacts of a person with a confirmed infection (such as people staying in the same house or sharing a closed space for a prolonged length of time) are most at risk of infection. It is important that you understand the symptoms of novel coronavirus and seek medical attention if you become unwell.

What are the symptoms?

  Symptoms can include (but are not limited to) fever, cough, fatigue, sore throat, and/or shortness of breath.

What happens now?

  Your doctor will arrange for you to be tested for the infection. It may take a few days for the test results to be returned. Novel coronavirus (nCoV) 2 If your symptoms are serious you will remain in hospital isolated from other patients to prevent further spread of the virus. If your doctor says you are well enough to return home while you are waiting for your test results: • remain in your home and do not attend work or school; • wash your hands often with soap and water; • cough and sneeze into your elbow; • avoid cooking for or caring for other members of your household; and • wear a mask (provided by your doctor) if close contact with other people is unavoidable. Public Health officers will make contact with you each day to check on your condition and provide you with a phone number to contact if you have questions. Your family and other close contacts do not need to remain isolated unless they develop symptoms. If they develop symptoms, they must return home and contact the Public Health Unit.

What happens if my test is negative?

  You no longer need to remain in isolation. You may return to normal activities on your doctor’s advice. You should continue to carefully monitor your health for up to 14 days after your last contact with the confirmed case. Report any new or returning symptoms to Public Health in this period. You may be required to be tested again.

What happens if my test is positive?

  You must remain in your home or accommodation until Public Health officers advise that it is safe to return to normal activities. This will normally be 1 day after your symptoms end. If your condition deteriorates, seek medical attention: • Notify the Public Health officers managing your care by calling the number provided to you; • Follow the direction of the Public Health officers who may advise you to go to a doctor’s surgery or a hospital; • Call ahead to a doctor or hospital and inform them that you are a confirmed case of novel coronavirus; • Put on the mask provided to you for if you need to leave the house; • When you arrive at the doctor’s surgery or hospital, tell them that you are a confirmed case of novel coronavirus. If you are experiencing severe symptoms, such as shortness of breath: • Call 000 and request an ambulance; and • Inform the ambulance officers that you are a confirmed case of novel coronavirus. Your family and other close contacts do not need to remain isolated unless they develop symptoms. If they develop symptoms, they must return home and contact Public Health.

How is the infection treated?

  There is no specific treatment for 2019-nCoV infection. Antibiotics are not effective against viral infections. However, most of the symptoms can be treated with supportive medical care. Your doctor will explain this to you. Novel coronavirus (nCoV) 3

Where can I get more information?

  Visit the Australian Government Department of Health homepage at www.health.gov.au Call the Public Health Information Line on 1800 004 599. Discuss any questions you have with the Public Health Unit

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