NQPHN has collated the latest information and resources to assist the community in relation to Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Re-opening a COVID-safe Australia and economy (8 May 2020)
- On 8 May 2020, the National Cabinet finalised the three-step plan to gradually remove baseline restrictions and make Australia COVID-safe. Read the three-step plan summary.
- On the same day, the Queensland Government released its own roadmap to easing Queensland’s restrictions.
Where can I find trusted sources of information?
Whilst media coverage of COVID-19 can help you feel informed, it can also trigger feelings of anxiety and agitation. To stay up to date with accurate, factual information you can access:
- The Australian Government COVID-19 website, which is regularly updated with the latest news, alerts, and resources. Please visit the Department of Health website for the most current information
- The Australian Government Department of Health Coronavirus Australia App (available in the Apple App Store or Google Play)
- The Australian Government’s WhatsApp channel on iOS or Android for official advice and information in real-time
- The Queensland Government has detailed information for the community on its website about COVID-19 including what it is, symptoms and prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Further information can be obtained by calling 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84).
- The Australian Digital Health Agency (the Agency) has launched a COVID-19 digital health guide to help Australians find the latest health information and advice about navigating the healthcare system during a time when information overload is widespread.
These websites are all updated daily.
If you are seeking information on COVID-19, call the Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080. The line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Latest updates and advice
The Department of Health website is regularly updated with the latest news, alerts, and resources.
Daily case and situation updates
See daily reports from the Department of Health on COVID-19 case numbers and the current situation in Australia and overseas.
News and media
Keep up to date with the Department of Health’s COVID-19 news and media.
Australian Government Department of Health COVID-19 Fact Sheets
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) – frequently asked questions
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) information on the use of surgical masks
- COVID-19 Electronic prescribing – a guide for patients
- COVID-19 – Information about routine environmental cleaning and disinfection in the community.
- COVID-19 information for hotel guests.
Queensland Government – everything you need to know about COVID-19, in language you can understand
The Queensland Government has produced an excellent FAQ webpage with common questions from the community relating to COVID-19, including:
- Why did the name change from novel coronavirus to COVID-19, and what is SARS-CoV-2?
- What is COVID-19?
- How is it possible to have a new virus that no one has had before?
- What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
- How does COVID-19 spread and how can I catch it?
- How can I stop myself from getting it?
- Is there anything else I can do to make myself less likely to catch COVID-19?
- Why isn’t there a COVID-19 vaccine yet?
- I think I might have COVID-19 – what should I do?
- Who is at most risk of catching COVID-19?
- Who is most at risk of getting seriously unwell from COVID-19?
- Does COVID-19 kill people?
- I’m pregnant – am I or is my baby at extra risk of COVID-19?
- Can I still go to the hospital for my appointment or if I’m sick?
- What is a pandemic?
- Should I be preparing myself and my home to ride out the COVID-19 pandemic?
- Can I travel overseas, interstate, or within Queensland?
- I’m feeling scared/overwhelmed/worried/anxious about COVID-19.
healthdirect Symptom Checker – an online tool that allows people to check their symptoms using a simple self-guided process.
If you are in need of urgent support, the following services may be able to assist you:
- Triple Zero: 000
- Alcohol and Drug Information Service (ADIS): 1800 177 833
- Beyond Blue: 1300 22 46 36
- Butterfly Eating Disorder Support: 1800 33 46 73
- Lifeline: 13 11 14
- Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467
- 1300 MH CALL: 1300 64 22 55.
Please refer to the information tabs below for further useful information for the community in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Protecting yourself and others from COVID-19
If you believe that you have been exposed to COVID-19, phone your GP or local health service before attending.
To help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and to protect those who are most at risk, it is important that you take the recommended steps to protect yourself and others.
The Australian Government Department of Health has information about protecting yourself and others from COVID-19. Novel coronavirus is transmitted from person to person, usually when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Transmission may occur from contaminated surfaces, so it is important to frequently wash your hands.
How to protect yourself and others from infection
- Practice good hand and respiratory hygiene including:
- cleaning your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rubs – view the how to wash and dry hands fact sheet and the how to clean hands using an alcohol-based liquid or hand rub fact sheet
- covering your nose and mouth with a tissue or flexed elbow when coughing or sneezing
- avoiding contact with anyone who has symptoms such as fever, a cough, sore throat, fatigue, and shortness of breath
- staying 1.5 metres away from people.
- If you are feeling unwell, stay home.
- If you need to visit a GP, ring beforehand.
- If you are feeling really unwell, call an ambulance on Triple Zero (000).
For more details on how to protect yourself and others, click here to view recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO).
- Practice good hand and respiratory hygiene including:
GP Respiratory Clinics
Coronavirus (COVID-19): GP-led Respiratory Clinics
The Australian Government is funding up to 100 GP-led respiratory clinics around the country to clinically assess people with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms.
NORTH MACKAY RESPIRATORY CLINIC
Health On Central
24 Central Drive
Andergrove QLD 4740
Phone: (07) 4863 1273
How to book an appointment: Community members experiencing respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat or fatigue can book an appointment at North Mackay Respiratory Clinic by calling (07) 4863 1273 or online.
Opening hours: Monday–Friday: 8.30am-4pm, Saturday: 9am-1pm
TOWNSVILLE RESPIRATORY CLINIC
Upper Ross Medical Centre
1199 Riverway Drive
Rasmussen QLD 4815
Phone: (07) 4774 0299
How to book an appointment: Community members experiencing respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat or fatigue can book an appointment at Townsville Respiratory Clinic by calling (07) 4774 0299 or online.
Opening hours: Monday–Friday: 8am-4.45pm, Saturday: 8am-11.45am
CAIRNS (WOREE) RESPIRATORY CLINIC
SmartClinics Woree Family Medical Centre
14/600 Bruce Hwy
Woree QLD 4868
Phone: 0491 874 640, 1300 411 748
How to book an appointment: Community members experiencing respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat or fatigue can book an appointment at Cairns (Woree) Respiratory Clinic by calling 1300 411 748 or online.
Opening hours: Monday–Friday: 8am-12pm & 1pm-5pm
CHARTERS TOWERS RESPIRATORY CLINIC
Gold City Medical Centre
1 Gill Street
Charters Towers QLD 4820
Phone: (07) 4787 7203
How to book an appointment: Community members experiencing respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat or fatigue can book an appointment at Charters Towers Respiratory Clinic by calling (07) 4787 7203 or online.
Opening hours: Monday–Friday: 9am-1pm
Frequently Asked Questions
What do I need to know about COVID-19 GP Respiratory Clinics?
NQPHN is working with GPs across North Queensland to provide access to respiratory clinics where you can safely get tested for COVID-19.
How do I visit a GP Respiratory Clinic?
Patients must make an appointment online or by phone prior to attending a GP Respiratory Clinic.
Patients do not need a GP referral before attending the clinics. The clinics are free of charge to all patients.
Where are the respiratory clinics in North Queensland?
Health On Central, 24 Central Drive, Andergrove
Hours: Monday–Friday: 8.30am-4pm, Saturday: 9am-1pm
Contact: (07) 4863 1273 | firstname.lastname@example.org
SmartClinics Woree Family Medical Centre, 14/600 Bruce Hwy, Woree
Hours: Monday–Friday: 8am-12pm & 1pm-5pm
Contact: 1300 411 748 | email@example.com
Gold City Medical Centre, 1 Gill Street, Charters Towers
Hours: Monday–Friday: 9am-1pm
Contact: (07) 4787 7203 | firstname.lastname@example.org
How are COVID-19 GP Respiratory Clinics selected?
There is a rigorous process including a site inspection before approval. On occasion, these sites have been set up near other facilities and local spaces, and are structured to keep the local community as safe as possible. With the COVID-19 priority now on testing and understanding the spread of the virus, screening and respiratory clinics are more important than ever. General practices are also involved in local community testing.
Where else can I get tested for coronavirus in North Queensland?
Fever clinics are specialist clinics to assess people who may be infected with COVID-19. These clinics help to keep people who may be contagious away from other areas of hospitals and health centres. This helps to reduce the potential spread of the virus and keeps the emergency department available for emergencies.
Fever clinics are managed by Hospital and Health Services. For details of your closest clinic, please contact your GP or local hospital.
How do I book an appointment?
Booking ahead for an appointment at the COVID-19 GP Respiratory Clinics helps the clinics maintain the standards for physical distancing. Only people who have symptoms of COVID-19 can be tested.
Appointments can be booked using the links above under ‘Locations’ for each respiratory clinic.
Do I need a referral?
No, you do not need a referral from your GP to book an appointment at one of these clinics.
Is it safe to attend?
Yes, it is safe to attend the clinics. These clinics are set-up to maintain social distancing.
Suspected cases are identified during a pre-screen and managed appropriately. You may be asked to stay in your car until someone comes out with a mask.
Personal protective equipment is available and will be used in line with clinical guidelines from the Australian Department of Health.
What happens at a respiratory clinic?
A doctor or a nurse will assess your respiratory condition and identify if you meet the testing criteria for COVID-19.
If you do meet the criteria, they will test you using swabs, collecting a sample from your nose or throat.
They will tell you when to expect your results back and will let you know how you will be contacted about the results.
They will give you a plan of care before you leave. This may include advising you to self-isolate in your home until the results of the test come back, seeing your doctor, and providing a script to take to your pharmacy.
Taking care of your mental and physical health
Mental and emotional wellbeing
Many aspects of life are affected by a pandemic. Most people have little experience of an event like COVID-19 and it can be quite overwhelming when your health, social life, employment, and financial situation are impacted. While it’s normal to feel anxious or uncertain during this time, you can seek help if these feelings start to affect your everyday functioning.
It is important to look after your mental health during this time. If you are feeling worried or anxious about COVID-19, there are steps you can take.
Scroll down for a list of free resources and links:
- The 24/7 Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service has been developed by Beyond Blue to address the growing mental health impact of the pandemic, including fear about the virus, financial stress, family stress, anxiety and loneliness. Call 1800 512 348.
- My Compass (Beyond Blue): A personalised self-help tool to manage mental health stress in COVID-19.
- NQ Connect is a free and safe telephone and online counselling service for people in North Queensland for individuals 15 years and over experiencing difficulties that impact on their mental health.
- The Department of Health’s Head to Health’s COVID‑19 support page offers tips for maintaining good mental health, information on how to access mental health services, information for parents, and how to keep older Australians safe and connected by helping them get established online. To receive frequent mental health updates on coronavirus, subscribe to the Department of Health’s enews.
- National Mental Health Commission campaign to deal with COVID-19 stress: Sharing stories about coping – #Wereinthistogether
- Kids Helpline: A 24/7 support service to help children through the COVID-19 pandemic is available free of charge to all Australian children. Call 1800 55 1800, or use the email or web chat service.
- LifeinMind: Providing vital connections to resources designed to support the mental health and wellbeing of those experiencing an indirect or direct impact from COVID-19.
- headspace: Support for young people, including how to cope with stress related to COVID-19.
- Lifeline: Managing your mental health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 outbreak. Call 13 11 14
- Emerging Minds: Helping parents and carers best support their children and reduce worry and distress.
- Black Dog Institute’s tools and resources can be accessed by anyone, anywhere to help deal with feelings of anxiety and stress associated with COVID-19.
- If you know children or young people who are feeling concerned by the situation, this 6-minute video from SchoolTV can help your family feel informed.
- Mindspot: 10 Psychological Tips for Coping with Coronavirus (COVID-19).
- Queensland Mental Health Commission resources relating to COVID-19.
- Mind Australia: Supports people dealing with mental illness, as well as their families, friends and carers; provides specialised therapies for complex behaviours and needs including people who have intellectual disability along with mental ill-health.
- Remember – stay on top of the facts, but limit your exposure to the hype!
24/7 crisis services
Lifeline 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467
Beyond Blue 1300 22 46 36
MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78
Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800
- Eating balanced, nutritious meals will help your immune system defend itself, as well as helping you to recover if you become unwell.
- Limit your intake of sugary food, drinks, and alcohol to help improve your body’s immune system. Read more about the importance of moderating alcohol consumption.
- Drink plenty of water to maintain your hydration levels.
- For more information on nutrition and COVID-19, visit:
Although it may be more challenging to stay fit when self-quarantining, daily exercise is critical to overall physical and mental health. You could take up running, yoga, or other home workouts. There are many free online guides and mobile apps to guide you through home workouts.
Some of these include:
- How to stay fit and active at home during the coronavirus self-isolation
- Exercise at home for over 50s, 60s, 70s, and older.
What if I need to see a doctor?
If you need to see a doctor, call your local practice. The staff will help you decide whether you require a face-to-face consultation, or a consultation over the phone or by video (telehealth).
Telehealth is designed to protect you, your GP, and the wider community by reducing the number of people visiting GP waiting rooms, where the virus could potentially spread.
If you have symptoms such as fever, shortness of breath, headache, cough, sore throat, or muscle aches, your doctor may refer you to a Respiratory Clinic or an Emergency Department.
If you need a prescription your doctor will send this directly to your local pharmacy where you can collect it, or your pharmacy may be able to deliver it to your home.
This Australian Government Department of Health fact sheet for patients outlines how patients can get their medicine if they are confined to home due to COVID-19.
Supporting vulnerable communities
- The Australian Government has provided advice for people aged 70 years and over and people aged 65 years and over with chronic medical conditions.
- In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Queensland Health has developed advice for older Queenslanders aged 65 years and over and First Nations people aged over 50 years.
- Visit healthdirect for COVID-19 information for older Australians.
- My Aged Care has Coronavirus (COVID-19) information and support for older Australians.
- COTA Australia has been actively working to make sure the needs of older people are being prioritised. A variety of fact sheets and resources are available.
- The Care Army is made up of everyday Queenslanders who want to help older people living in the community who may not have friends, family, or neighbours who are able to support them.
- The Community Visitors Scheme arranges volunteer visits to older people to provide friendship and companionship. Visits are available to anyone receiving government-subsidised residential aged care or Home Care Packages.
- View the information sheet for older Australians, their family, and friends about how to protect older Australians from the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
- View the information sheet for families and residents on restricted visits to residential aged care facilities on how to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
- OPAN (Older Persons Advocacy Network) — visit the OPAN website for more information, or call 1800 237 981.
First Nations people (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community)
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice from the Australian Government for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and remote communities.
- Queensland Government advice and information for First Nations people.
- An extensive list of resources catering for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander audiences is available on the Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet.
- Department of Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Partnerships (DATSIP) has advice around Sorry Business and funerals relating to COVID-19.
- National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) has extensive advice and resources on COVID-19.
- Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC) has developed culturally appropriate resources.
- The Institute for Urban Indigenous Health (IUIH) Deadly Choices team has produced a series of excellent COVID-19 posters and videos for use with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The resources include advice on social distancing, symptoms, and washing hands.
- 1800 173 349 – Community recovery hotline for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander older people who are required to be in quarantine or self-isolation and who have no other means of support to secure essential items.
- National Indigenous Australians Agency has a suite of information and resources on COVID-19.
- Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia has produced an excellent poster explaining social isolation, titled: ‘Stay at Home, Keep Your Mob Safe, Stay in Touch’.
- Sign up for the Department of Health’s‘ KEEP OUR MOB SAFE STOP THE SPREAD’ COVID-19 newsletter for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander households, communities, and stakeholders.
- Mossman Hospital Community Health has produced the below video with instructions for First Nations people on handwashing.
People with a disability
- Queenslanders with Disability Network offers resources to help you get the facts, make a plan, and stay connected.
- Queensland Health has developed a web resource for people with disability, their friends, families, carers, and support workers.
- The Australian Government has launched a Disability Information Helpline for people with disability, their families, carers, support workers, and services who need help because of coronavirus (COVID-19). If you have a COVID-19 related question and do not know where to start, you can contact the Helpline from Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm (AEST) and Saturday and Sunday 9am to 7pm (AEST) in the following ways:
- Phone (free call): 1800 643 787
- If you are deaf, or have a hearing or speech impairment, you can also call the National Relay Service on 133 677.
Health resources in Easy Read/Auslan
The Australian Government has released a range of health information about COVID-19 on the Disability Information Helpline page on the Department of Social Services website in Easy Read and Auslan websites including:
- Coronavirus – What is it? – Easy Read
- Coronavirus – 5 things to do right now – Easy Read
- Coronavirus – What you need to know – Easy Read
- Coronavirus – FAQs – Easy Read
- Coronavirus – Social distancing – Easy Read
- Coronavirus – Staying at home – Easy Read
- Information and support for people with disability and carers – Auslan.
Information for people who are deaf or hearing-impaired
Expression Australia is providing regular Auslan-only video updates accompanied by a English text summary – view them here. These will also be posted on their social media channels: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) populations
- Translated resources, information on services and where to find support can be found at Refugee Health Network Queensland website.
- Translated coronavirus resources are available on the Department of Health website.
- News and information about coronavirus is available below in 63 languages on the SBS website.
- Study Queensland has collated a range of options to support the wellbeing of international students.
People who are experiencing homelessness or are at risk of homelessness
- oneplace – Find help near you. Search more than 53,000 Queensland family community services at oneplace. oneplace lists everything you need, from emergency relief to domestic and family violence support services.
- Homeless hotline – statewide phone information and referral service for people who are experiencing homelessness or are at risk of homelessness. Call 1800 474 753.
- Ask Izzy is a mobile website connecting people who are in crisis with the services they need right now and nearby, including housing and homeless support. They also have a specific COVID-19 support area.
- The Deck is a resource hub for the housing and homelessness sector. You can find COVID-19 related housing and homelessness information through their updates page.
- Find information and support on the COVID-19 changes affecting renting in Queensland on the online residential rental hub.
LGBTIQ and HIV communities
- Anonymous and free LGBTI peer support via webchat and telephone services through QLife.
- Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations offers extensive information and advice for the LGBTIQ and HIV communities.
Eating Disorder community
- Find COVID-19 and eating disorders information from the National Eating Disorders Collaboration.
Parents, carers, children, and youth
- Queensland Health has developed COVID-19 specific web information for parents and children.
- Queensland Health has also produced a COVID-19 web resource specifically for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
- Advice about COVID-19 and what it means for your child’s health on the Children’s Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service website.
- Supporting children during the COVID-19 pandemic via Emerging Minds.
- The Queensland Centre for Perinatal and Infant Mental Health have added a new book called ‘Birdie and the Virus‘ to their collection of online children’s resources. ‘Birdie and the Virus’ has been specifically designed to support the mental health and emotional wellbeing of babies and young children, their parents, and families, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Information and resources to help support infants and young children impacted by natural disasters via Birdie’s Tree.
Emergency & business relief
For those seeking food relief, visit the Ask Izzy search engine. Users can search for a range of charities and services according to their location or postcode. The search engine is a free and anonymous database of over 360,000 services including housing, meals, health care, counselling, legal advice, addiction treatment, and a whole lot more.
To support those affected by COVID-19, the Queensland Government has set up a Community Recovery Hotline: 1800 173 349. People who have been quarantined or that are self-isolating and are not able to be self-reliant can call the helpline to arrange delivery of essential food and medication.
Queenslanders can also access an extensive list of emergency relief programs on the Queensland Government website.
Business Queensland has created a webpage to find coronavirus information and assistance for business and industry from the Queensland and Australian Governments.
RACQ Foundation helps Queensland community groups impacted by disaster and crisis situations. RACQ Foundation Community Funding applications now open.
Frequently asked questions
What is COVID-19?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified.
Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) was discovered in China in late 2019 when a number of people in the province of Wuhan sought medical advice for pneumonia-like symptoms. When tested by doctors, it was discovered that these individuals had developed a strain of coronavirus that hadn’t been seen before.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) can include:
- a high temperature (at least 38°C)
- shortness of breath
- sore throat
- fatigue (ongoing tiredness)
- temporary loss of smell.
If you have serious symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, call 000 for urgent medical help.
Experts believe that this outbreak is likely to have originated in an animal species and has spread to humans. Some countries, including Australia, have reported human-to-human transmission.
It’s important to call before going to your medical centre or local emergency rooms, as going straight there could put others at risk.
How is it spread?
Human coronaviruses are spread from someone with confirmed coronavirus, to other close contacts with that person, through contaminated droplets spread by coughing or sneezing, or by contact with contaminated hands, surfaces, or objects.
How can I stop the spread of COVID-19?
To help stop the spread of COVID-19 everyone should:
- stay at home unless you are an essential worker, you need to shop for groceries, you are exercising, or you need to leave home for medical or compassionate reasons. In particular, anyone over 70 years of age (or over 60 if they have a long-term illness, or over 50 if they are from an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background) should stay at home as these age groups are most likely to suffer from serious complications. Visitors to residential aged care facilities are also limited for this reason.
- practice good hygiene measures:
- make sure you clean your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand rub
- cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with a tissue or a flexed elbow
- avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms
- clean and disinfect your home or business to help to prevent the virus from spreading from contaminated surfaces.
- practice social distancing – you should stay at least (1.5m) away from other people at all times, and be with no more than 1 other person outside of your household in any indoor and outdoor space. Avoid physical greetings of any kind such as hugs or handshakes.
What is self-isolation (self-quarantine)?
There is a lot of confusion about what self-isolation specifically means, and the implications it might have for other members of your household. The Public Health Incident Management team at Queensland Health have created a factsheet to answer all those tricky questions. For more information, check out the Department of Health website.
- Self-isolate – If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, you must separate yourself from other people to prevent the spread of the virus for 14 days. Click here for more information on self-isolating.
- Self-quarantine – If there is potential that you are carrying the virus because you have returned from overseas or have been in contact with someone who has a confirmed case of COVID-19, you must also avoid contact with other people for 14 days.
Posters for your home or workplace – effective handwashing or use of alcohol-based hand rub
- Handwashing instructions poster (World Health Organisation).
- Hand-rubbing instructions poster (World Health Organisation).
What should I do if I come into contact with a person with COVID-19?
If you have been identified as a contact of a person with confirmed COVID-19 infection in Australia, the local public health unit will contact you with advice. You need to isolate yourself at home for 14 days after contact with the infected person, and to monitor your health and report any symptoms.
Person to person spread of coronaviruses generally occurs between people who are close contacts with one another. A close contact is typically someone who has been face to face for at least 15 minutes, or been in the same closed space for at least 2 hours, with a person that was infectious. The public health unit will keep in touch with people who are close contacts of patients with COVID-19 infection. If any symptoms develop, contacts must call the public health unit to report those symptoms.
- Australian Government Department of Health Coronavirus (COVID-19) information for close contacts of a confirmed case.
If your contact with the person was less than this, there is a much smaller risk of you being infected. However, as a precaution you must still monitor your health until 14 days after you were last exposed to the infectious person. If you develop symptoms including a fever and/or respiratory signs, please call ahead to talk to a doctor or call healthdirect on 1800 022 222. Tell your doctor that you have been in contact with someone with COVID-19. The doctor may tell you to attend your nearest emergency department – if so when you arrive, immediately tell staff you have had contact with someone with COVID-19.
Do I need to get tested for COVID-19?
If you develop symptoms within 14 days of last contact with someone who has a confirmed case of COVID-19, or if you develop symptoms within 14 days of returning to Australia after travelling overseas, you should seek medical attention. Your doctor will tell you if you need to get tested.
Symptoms can range from mild illness to pneumonia. Most people will recover easily, and others may get very sick very quickly.
People with coronavirus may experience:
- flu-like symptoms such as coughing, a sore throat, and fatigue
- shortness of breath.
You can use the healthdirect online Coronavirus Symptom Checker tool to find out what, if any, actions you need to take to protect yourself and your community.
Is there a vaccine for COVID-19?
At this time there is no vaccine available to prevent Coronavirus, nor is there a specific treatment to cure it.
People with more serious complications can be treated in hospital.
How to make the most of working or studying from home
With the exception of essential workers, most people are now working from home. You may also be sharing your home office with partners, housemates, or family members who are working or learning remotely.
For most, this will be a new way of working. Here are some suggestions on how to get the best out of your working day:
- maintain a routine much as possible – and make room in it for things you enjoy
- ensure each person has their own workstation
- take a 2-minute stretch break every 30 minutes
- exercise at least once each day, preferably outside in the daylight
- eat lunch away from your workstation
- speak to at least one person from school, work, or university each weekday by telephone or video call.
Supporting your community
What can we do to stay socially connected?
Social distancing doesn’t have to mean social isolation.
- Keep in touch with colleagues, neighbours, friends, and family by telephone, video call, text, or email. Do this at least once a day and make a special effort to connect with those who are unable to have visitors.
- If you don’t know your neighbours, consider introducing yourself by putting a note into their letterboxes to let them know you’re willing to connect if they want to. Here’s a note template you could print out and use.
- As this is a difficult time for local businesses, consider checking in with business owners. If you (or someone you know) are experiencing difficulties with your business due to COVID-19, you can access a number of support resources:
With many businesses having to close their doors lots of people are facing unemployment. The stress and uncertainty of losing a job can weigh heavily on an individual’s conscience and on relationships. Consider the following to support friends and family in this situation:
- acknowledge the person’s concerns
- suggest looking into the new Australian Government financial supports for those who’ve lost employment resulting from the COVID-19 measures. These include freezing mortgage repayments and changes to Newstart allowance through Centrelink. Find out more here
- encourage them to keep their body and mind active. It is important to find new hobbies and exercise to alleviate stress and anxiety.
What should I do if I feel like I’m not coping?
It’s normal to feel anxious about COVID-19, and to feel stressed or lonely while self-isolating. If you’re feeling this way, please reach out and connect. Refer to the ‘Taking care of your mental and physical health’ tab on this page for more information on a range of mental health services designed to provide flexible support suited to your individual needs.
How do I know what COVID-19 information I can trust?
To make sure you’re getting the right information about COVID-19, always check with a reliable source such as the Australian Department of Health, Queensland Health, or healthdirect. Be careful with any information shared with you on social media, and don’t share it with others unless it you’re sure it checks out.
Scammers are also using COVID-19 to target people with coronavirus-related scams and phishing emails. If you receive a COVID-19-related email or SMS (text message) asking you to click on a link and enter personal information, only do so if you’re certain it is genuine.
Visit Stay Smart Online for more information, and always follow these simple steps:
- read the message carefully, and look for anything that isn’t quite right, such as tracking numbers, names, attachment names, sender, message subject, and hyperlinks
- if unsure, call the organisation on their official number, as it appears on their website and double-check the details or confirm that the request is legitimate. Do not contact the phone number or email address contained in the message, as this most likely belongs to the scammer
- use sources such as the organisation’s mobile phone app, website or social media page to verify the message. Often large organisations, like Australia Post, will have scam alert pages on their websites, with details of current known scams using their branding, to watch out for.
If you’ve received one of these messages and you’ve clicked on the link, or you’re concerned your personal details have been compromised, contact your financial institution immediately.
Telehealth – what it means for you and how to use it
What is telehealth?
Going to a medical centre or hospital can increase your risk of getting or passing on COVID-19. To reduce the number of people attending clinics in person, many medical centres and hospitals are now offering telephone or video consultations as an alternative or first step.
Telehealth is also a good option for many people who live a long distance from their specialist. Visit Queensland Health for more information.
The National Health and Medical Research Council has produced useful telehealth guides for consumers.
How do I make a telehealth appointment?
If you need to see your GP or specialist, ring the clinic first to see if they offer telehealth appointments. If they do, you’ll be given an appointment time as normal, but instead of going into the clinic you can stay at home and the doctor will call you by phone or videoconference. The medical centre will give you all the details you need.
What equipment do I need for a telehealth consultation?
If your telehealth call is by phone, you just need your landline or mobile phone. Make sure you know which number the doctor will be calling, and be ready by the phone at your scheduled appointment time.
If your consultation is by videoconference, you’ll need a computer or tablet with a built in or attached camera, microphone, and speakers. You might find a headset makes it easier to hear and be heard. You’ll also need a stable internet connection. The medical centre will let you know if there’s anything else you need to have or download before your appointment.
It’s a good idea to make sure everything is working a day or two before your telehealth consultation.
What if I need tests or prescriptions after my telehealth consultation?
If your doctor decides you need to see someone in person after your phone or video consultation, they’ll let you know. They’ll also refer you for any other tests you might need, and will let you know how and where these will be carried out.
If you need a prescription, this will normally be sent directly to your local pharmacy for you to collect, following your telehealth appointment.
This Australian Government Department of Health fact sheet outlines how patients can get their medicine if they are confined to home due to COVID-19.
Use of surgical masks
If you have COVID-19, wearing a surgical mask can help to prevent spreading it to others.
If you are well, you do not need to wear a surgical mask. There is little evidence that widespread use of surgical masks in healthy people prevents transmission in public.
COVID-19 information from your local Council
- Aurukun Shire Council: Website | Facebook
- Burdekin Shire Council: Website | Facebook
- Cairns Regional Council: Website | Facebook
- Cassowary Coast Regional Council: Website | Facebook
- Charters Towers Regional Council: Website | Facebook
- Cook Shire Council: Website | Facebook
- Croydon Shire Council: Website | Facebook
- Douglas Shire Council: Website | Facebook
- Etheridge Shire Council: Website | Facebook
- Flinders Shire Council: Website | Facebook
- Hinchinbrook Shire Council: Website | Facebook
- Hope Vale Aboriginal Shire Council: Website | Facebook
- Isaac Regional Council: Website | Facebook
- Kowanyama Aboriginal Shire Council: Website | Facebook
- Lockhart River Aboriginal Shire Council: Website | Facebook
- Mackay Regional Council: Website | Facebook
- Mapoon Aboriginal Shire Council: Website | Facebook
- Mareeba Shire Council: Website | Facebook
- Napranum Aboriginal Shire Council: Website | Facebook
- Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council: Website | Facebook
- Palm Island Aboriginal Shire Council: Website | Facebook
- Pormpuraaw Aboriginal Shire Council: Website | Facebook
- Richmond Shire Council: Website | Facebook
- Tablelands Regional Council: Website | Facebook
- Torres Shire Council: Website | Facebook
- Torres Strait Island Regional Council: Website | Facebook
- Townsville City Council: Website | Facebook
- Weipa Town Authority: Website | Facebook
- Whitsunday Regional Council: Website | Facebook
- Wujal Wujal Aboriginal Shire Council: Website | Facebook
- Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council: Website | Facebook