With the number of coronavirus cases mounting in Australia, it is all the more important that we educate ourselves on what we can do to minimise the risk of getting the virus and what items to stock up on if any.
We have put all the information you need. Read the following:
Are you at risk for coronavirus?
If you are healthy and below 70 and have not come into contact with anyone who is infected with COVID-19 and you have not travelled to high infection rate areas including China, Iran, South Korea, and Italy, the chances are – you will be safe.
If you believe you have symptoms…
If you believe you are showing symptoms of coronavirus – cough, fever, runny nose or shortness of breath, you should seek medical advice.
A word of caution:
As public contact and being in the company of others who also may or may not be infected is to be avoided, you should call up first and discuss your personal circumstances, symptoms, travel history and inform the medical practitioner.
“It is important that [the individual] calls ahead of time to book an appointment and tell the medical professional about their symptoms, travel history and any recent close contact with someone who has COVID-19,” a spokesperson from the Department of Health said.
Having these symptoms does not necessarily mean you have COVID-19. It can be a case of simple influenza. Wearing a mask to the testing facility is also recommended to prevent potential spread.
When to self-isolate?
If you have been to any of the epicentres of Coronavirus in the world – in the past 14 days namely – China, Iran or South Korea, even if you have just travelled in or transited within those countries, self-isolation for 14 days since you left that country.
You should also self-isolate if you have been in close contact with someone who is a confirmed case of COVID-19.
More information about who needs to self-isolate may be found on the Australian Government Department of Health website.
The Coronavirus test…
Should you be worried of having been infected, in no circumstances you should be self-testing or taking any steps without proper medical advice. For any tests you may feel you need to test if you are infected with Coronavirus, you must contact your local GP or attend a hospital emergency department.
“Self-testing is not appropriate and could provide invalid or false results.”
“It is essential that testing for COVID-19 infection is undertaken by appropriately accredited and specialised laboratories,” the Department of Health spokesperson said.
For the test, what samples are required?
Although testing methods include a blood test, a swab test inside your nose or in the back of your throat, or a sputum (mix of saliva and mucus) test, the blood test format or serology method (the examination of blood serum) is currently not available in Australia. If you are going for a test in Australia, it is more likely the test will be a nasal swab, as per the guidelines set out by the Department of Health for pathologists.
“The collection of respiratory samples is required for a diagnosis of COVID-19 infection to be made using the tests that are available today,” the Department of Health spokesperson said.
“Serology tests [blood tests] are being developed that will detect whether an individual has had an immune response to the COVID-19 infection.”
How long do the tests take?
It depends on more than one factors. The Department of Health says the timeframe to confirm a test result will depend on where the specimen is collected, and turnaround times varied between jurisdictions.
It is highly recommended patients isolate themselves while waiting for a result.
As the situation is continuously evolving, so do the recommendations about testing and quarantine measures. Officials are updating information and measures daily rigorously monitoring the situation changes.
Australia can ward off the coronavirus threat
Australia’s healthcare system ranks among the best in the developed world. For its health system spend, Australia spends $7, 485 per person compared to China’s $930 and less than $200 in the African countries.
Yet the threat and thus the need for Australians to be very vigilant and hygienically absolutely spot cannot be emphasised enough.