We are hearing a lot about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) at the moment. Staff and the people we support have gotten in touch with us to find out more about our approach. In general it is important to know that as of today the risk of infection in WA is low and there is no reason to panic. However it is vital to understand how to keep our staff and the people we support healthy.
What is the 2019 Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus that hasn’t previously been identified in humans and was first diagnosed in China in December 2019. Symptoms include fever, sore throat, cough and/or shortness of breath. In severe cases, the virus can cause pneumonia with severe acute respiratory distress. COVID-19 is likely to spread from person-to-person through direct contact with a person while they are infectious or contact with objects or surfaces that are contaminated by droplets or secretions from an infected person. Symptoms can occur between 2 and 14 days and people who have been exposed to the virus and show symptoms need to be isolated for 14 days.
The WA Department of Health has provided the following information for residents of WA
- The risk of transmission in Australia remains low; however, the situation is evolving. Western Australians should remain alert, but not be alarmed.
- You DO NOT need to wear a face mask if you’re healthy.
- If you suspect you may have coronavirus symptoms or may have had close contact with a person who has coronavirus, you should contact the Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080.
What is the best way to protect myself and others against Coronavirus?
- Washing your hands frequently (for at least 20 seconds) with soap and water. Handwashing Guide by the WHO:
- Using an alcohol-based hand gel.
- Refraining from touching your mouth and nose.
- Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue or flexed elbow when coughing or sneezing.
- Avoiding close contact with anyone if you or they have cold or flu-like symptoms
When do I have to isolate myself?
- left, or transited through Countries and regions considered to pose a HIGH RISK of transmission.
- been in close contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus in the last 14 days.
You MUST isolate yourself for 14 days if you were exposed to one of the above situations. This means you must stay at home even if you are perfectly well with no symptoms. The only time you should leave your home is to seek medical attention. This means you cannot attend public places such as work, school, shopping centres or go on a holiday. Please call your GP or call the Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080 and advise them of any symptoms and travel history.
Self-quarantine and self-isolation are important for protecting your family, friends, colleagues and the Western Australian community. Whether it is COVID or a common cold or flu, we ask staff and the people we support to let us know if they feel unwell and think they could be infected.
REMEMBER: The risk of transmission in Australia remains low; Remain alert, but do not panic and follow strict personal hygiene to protect yourself.
For the latest advice, information and resources, go to www.health.gov.au