COVID-19 coronavirus: Help if you are at risk of serious illness

With COVID-19 in WA, there are things you can do to stay safe.
A woman's hands with an oximeter

Some people are at a greater risk of getting very sick from COVID-19. This page highlights key information for you if you’re at risk of serious illness (external link) and helps you access resources from reputable sources on COVID-19.

6 steps everyone should take when dealing with COVID-19

  1. Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations (external link)
  2. Get tested (external link) if you have symptoms (external link) and follow the steps if you’re COVID-positive or a close contact
  3. Wear a mask where required (external link) and follow the health and safety guidelines
  4. Keep up healthy hygiene habits (external link).
  5. Prepare a COVID-19 kit and COVID-19 Care Plan (external link) for your household.
  6. Speak to your GP or regular health service if you have concerns. Some conditions and lifestyle factors (external link) can increase your chance of illness from COVID-19.

If you are at a greater risk or are immunocompromised, the additional information on this page is particularly important for you.

What to do to prepare for COVID-19

Make sure you're up to date with your COVID-19 vaccinations

Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself against COVID-19. Make sure you’re up-to-date with your vaccinations and have received all recommended doses (external link).

COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective (external link).

Most people should receive 2 doses of COVID-19 vaccine for their primary course but if you are severely immunocompromised and aged 5 years and older, you should receive 3 doses for your primary course (external link).

Doses and booster vaccinations

People aged 5 years and older who are severely immunocompromised should receive 3 doses for their primary course (external link) of a COVID-19 vaccine, with the 3rd dose to be given 2 months after the 2nd dose.

People aged 16 years and older who are severely immunocompromised are also recommended to receive 2 additional booster doses.

The timing of booster vaccination doses for severely immunocompromised people is:

If you’re unsure how many doses you should have or need advice about the timing of vaccines around treatments, speak to your GP or healthcare professional.

If you have had COVID-19, wait 3 months after you recover before you receive your next dose.

For more information about the winter booster (external link), and to make a vaccination booking, visit Roll up for WA (external link).

Additional measures you can take

People with a weakened immune system may consider taking additional measures, including using high quality masks, working from home where possible (external link) and making alternate arrangements for work and school where necessary.

You can ask friends or family members to take a rapid antigen test (RAT) before catching up or visiting, continue to keep up good hygiene habits like washing hands and using hand sanitiser, and hold gatherings outside where possible.

Speak to your GP if you are concerned about COVID-19, particularly if you have a medical condition that puts you in a higher risk category. You can work with them to complete a COVID-19 care plan (external link) and ensure you have a COVID-19 kit.

You may be eligible for COVID-19 treatment with an antiviral medication (external link), depending on your age, existing medical conditions, when you were diagnosed with COVID-19 and the severity of your symptoms. Your GP can prescribe antiviral medication treatments.

Masks

With COVID-19 in the community, it is understandable if you are hesitant about masks not being required in some settings, especially if you have an underlying medical condition, or if there are people at risk of serious illness living in your household or family. You are strongly encouraged to wear a mask if you feel more comfortable doing so.

Wearing a well-fitting mask is a simple and effective precaution you can take to stay safe and minimise the spread of COVID-19.

It is a good idea to carry a mask when you leave home and wear one if you can't physically distance from others.

Visit HealthyWA’s Face masks (external link) for information on the different types of masks and how to care for them.

For information about mask rules in Western Australia and the different types of face masks.

What to do if you test positive

  • Register your positive rapid antigen test (RAT) result (external link) on HealthyWA as soon as possible.
  • People at risk of severe illness should register for WA COVID Care at Home (external link) (more below).
  • Speak with your GP about treatment options, especially if you are at high risk of severe illness, to find out if you are eligible for a COVID-19 antiviral treatment.
    • Some medicines must be started within specific timeframes of developing COVID-19 symptoms (within 5 days) to be effective, therefore it is important that you seek treatment for your symptoms as soon as possible.
  • Follow the isolation protocols for COVID-19 positive cases.
  • Monitor your symptoms by keeping a daily diary and discuss with your GP if required.

WA COVID Care at Home

WA COVID Care at Home (external link) delivers home monitoring via the telephone for COVID-positive people with risk factors that put them at greater risk of hospitalisation.

You must test positive to COVID-19 to register for WA COVID Care at Home (external link). If you are unable to complete the form by yourself and do not have someone to help, call 13 COVID (13 268 43) for help to complete registration on your behalf.

The free program will enrol patients based on risk factors such as age, severity of symptoms, medical history and social factors. You will be asked to consent to enrol in the program.

Useful resources:

Page reviewed 5 August 2022