Summary of Basics about Covid-19. 
What is Covid-19?      
  • Coronaviruses cause many respiratory and gastrointestinal infections (30% of human colds)     
  • Covid-19 is a new strain of the Coronavirus, originating in Wuhan, China 2019.
  • Some connection with live animal markets in China (animal - human transmission), there has also been person - person spread.    
What is a pandemic?
  • Anyone, anywhere can be infected. The last pandemic was Influenza in 2009
Why the fuss?

    1) Many healthy, fit people will recover with no problems. However, many young people can develop severe infection, potentially with long term              health consequences. The virus is not just affecting the elderly and vulnerable.

    2) Those who are vulnerable may become severely ill or die = aged, immuno-compromised, people with co-morbidities such as HIV, asthma,                diabetes, heart disease, cancer, aboriginal communities, group residential settings, poorly controlled diabetes / asthma. 

    3) "Flattening the curve" - slow the transmission to reduce / flatten out the peak burden of disease on health services capacity.

What are the symptoms?
  • Fever / chills, sore throat, dry cough, shortness of breath, runny nose, loss of smell
  • *Other*: headache, aches & pains, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea
  • Can be none > mild > severe pneumonia
  • Children generally have very mild disease but may transmit to others ie) elderly grandparents.
How is it spread?
  • Droplet, direct contact and airborne, (possible faecal-oral transmission).
  • Close contact with an infectious person (incl. 48 hrs before their symptoms appear) either directly or via a cough / sneeze.
  • The virus can survive on some surfaces for up to 1 week
  • Examples: touching door handles /tables contaminated by an infectious person, and then touching your face
Incubation period & Infectivity
  • 2 - 14 days, average 5-6 days
  • 1 infected person would be expected to infect 3 others
  • Virus can be shedding before symptoms even develop (80%)
  • Some people are "super-shedders" = shed more virus for longer
How can you test for it?
  • Nasopharyngeal & throat swab (one swab for both) 
  • If attending GP or hospital, must ring ahead for instructions 
  • There are also drop-in & drive through testing sites.
  • Covid tests are free
Testing Flow Chart Click this chart Covid chart

Who is eligible for testing?

pdfSuspected Case -What you need to know

  • Anyone with acute respiratory symptoms - cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose, loss of smell     Note: can be very mild 
  • Anyone with fever / chills in the absence of other diagnoses
  • Anyone with new onset of any unusual symptoms (as above)  AND international travel anywhere in the last 14 days  OR close contact                  with a confirmed case OR are healthcare & aged care workers
  • Someone recovered (no symptoms) and returning to work in a healthcare or aged care facility
  • Special circumstances as directed by the DHHS.

Who does NOT  need to be tested


  • Someone with no symptoms and casual contact with a confirmed case only > No action or isolation necessary 
  • Someone with no symptoms who has just returned from overseas > Must self isolate for 14 days
  • Someone with no symptoms who has had close contact with a confirmed case > Must self isolate for 14 days from contact

Note: A negative test on an asymptomatic person does not exclude Covid infection as they may be incubating the virus

 What is CLOSE contact
  • > 15 minutes face to face contact OR > 2 hrs sharing a closed space ie) classroom, house, plane

What is CASUAL contact?

  • < 15 mins face to face contact OR < 2 hrs sharing a closed space ie) office, extended family, schools
How can I prevent transmission?
  • Self-isolate in circumstances outlined above
  • Follow Government guidelines relating to the number of people gathering together. 
  • Hand hygeine - washing 20 seconds, hand sanitisers, tissue disposal
  • Respiratory hygeine - coughing and sneezing etiquette
  • Social distancing - 1.5 metres, no hand shaking, kissing, high 5s
  • Environmental cleaning - benches, tables, light switches, door handles, phones     Notegym equipment, pools, towels, balls
  • Standard face masks are now recommended both to prevent you transmitting and for self-protection.
How can we treat it?
  • There is currently no treatment so symptom control only ie) paracetamol, rest
  • Note: This is a virus so antibiotics are of no use.
Mental Health Resources
  • Looking after your mental health during the Covid-19 > Beyond Blue: click here
  • How to cope with stress related to Covid-19 > headspace: click here
  • Mental Health Resources > DHHS: click here

 Stop the Spread


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