COVID-19 Coronavirus: Managing COVID-19 at home and in the community

Information and advice for preparing and managing COVID-19.

With COVID-19 in the community, we all have a role to play in managing it. There are a number of things that we can do to keep each other safe.

Click on the images below to find out more or view the managing COVID-19 booklet.

How to minimise the spread of COVID-19

It is important to continue to stay up to date with your COVID-19 and flu vaccinations, continue to practise healthy hygiene and wear a mask when required. Find out what you can do to stay on a roll through winter (external link)

Wear a mask

Wear a face mask as required as part of the public health and social measures. There are some exemptions from the requirement to wear a face mask. Wearing a face mask outdoors is recommended if you can’t physically distance, have symptoms, or you are with people who may be vulnerable to COVID-19.

Tip: Carry spare masks with you at all times so you always have one handy.

Roll up for WA

Stay on top of your COVID-19 vaccination status, so you can protect yourself and the community. You can find out more about the COVID-19 vaccine on the Roll up for WA website (external link).

Tip: You can find your closest vaccination location (external link).

Know when you need to test and isolate

Check out the latest testing, quarantine and isolation protocols so you know what to do.

Tip: It’s important to understand whether you classify as a close contact when it comes to testing and isolation protocols.

Remember good hygiene

Risk of contraction is reduced by practising good hygiene.

  • Wash your hands often and for at least 20 seconds, with soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitiser.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or use your inner elbow. Immediately throw the tissue in the bin.
  • Stay home if you're sick. Do not go to work or school.
  • Clean surfaces and objects such as doorknobs, benches, tabletops, keyboards, and phones regularly.

Tip: These measures are simple but effective – practise them as much as you can, because it does make a difference!

Ventilate

Make use of ventilation and air filtration if you have access to it, or open the windows to let fresh air in.

Tip: Catch up with friends outside whenever you have the option.

How to prepare for COVID-19

Preparing for COVID-19 makes things easier if you become infected or exposed to COVID-19 and are required to isolate. Here are helpful tips you can do ahead of time:

  1. Make sure you have enough face masks, hand sanitiser, and gloves. These can be purchased at supermarkets, pharmacies, and other retailers.
  2. Prepare a COVID-19 care kit with basic medical supplies such as a thermometer, pain relief medication, and electrolytes, as well as your regular medications. Some Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) are also good to have on hand. 
  3. Plan ahead and nominate someone to deliver supplies such as groceries and medication in case you need them while in isolation. This could be a family member or a friend.
  4. Plan ahead and nominate someone to help look after your children, pets, or anyone else in your care in case you need to go hospital. Again, this could be a family member or a friend, and potentially the same person who brings you any supplies.
  5. Have an emergency contact list with important phone numbers, such as your nominated support person, emergency services and your GP.
  6. Make sure you have activities to keep you and others in your house, such as children, entertained.

If you or someone in your household catches COVID-19, having the items on this checklist will help you monitor and manage your symptoms. It is important to have these items at home so you do not need to leave the house if you test positive for COVID-19.

Symptoms of COVID-19 - What to expect

COVID-19 symptoms and their severity will vary from person to person. It’s important to monitor yourself and anyone you live with for symptoms, to know when to seek help and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Monitor your symptoms regularly – become familiar with the full list of symptoms (external link).

People with conditions such as high blood pressure, obesity, or diabetes need to pay close attention as they may develop more severe illness. WA COVID Care at Home provides home care for COVID-positive people who are at greater risk of requiring hospitalisation. This is a free service that you need to register for to use (external link).

More information:

When to get tested for COVID-19

It’s important to get tested if you have any symptoms of COVID-19, no matter how mild. Get tested for COVID-19 early, as we are most infectious early on in the illness.

You must also get tested if you are a close contact of a positive case and isolate for 7 days from date of contact. For more information, see the Testing and isolation guides.

Managing a positive case in the home

The good news is most people who are generally fit and healthy, of a younger age, and are up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations, can manage their COVID-19 recovery at home.

If you require at home care while recovering from COVID-19, you can register for the WA COVID Care at Home (external link).

Isolate

You must isolate while awaiting your test result. As soon as you receive a positive result, you will need to isolate immediately for a minimum of 7 days. Follow the testing and isolation guides for more information.

More information:

Tell someone

If you live with others, you need to tell them about your positive result and they will need to isolate as per the testing and isolation guides. If you live alone, call a family member or a friend to let them know, and perhaps ask them to call you twice a day at an agreed time so they know you are okay.

You can also ask them to be your support person and help with bringing you any essentials. If you haven’t prepared ahead for isolation, it’s worth discussing with them a list of things you might need assistance with, as you will need to have food and other necessities delivered to your home.

If you test positive for COVID-19, you will receive an SMS from WA Health. There is a link in the SMS that will take you to a web page with more information and a number of questions.

The questions will ask if you have visited any high-risk locations or need COVID-19 Care at Home. These questions will help WA Health to continue to protect people at high risk of getting sick from COVID-19.

Recover

Pain-relieving medication or cold and flu tablets can reduce some symptoms. Be mindful of not exceeding the recommended intake.

Most importantly, drink lots of water, take electrolytes (available from your pharmacy) if you are vomiting, and sleep whenever you feel like it.

Now is the time to rest!

Take care of your physical and mental health

As you recover from COVID-19 at home, it’s important to take stock of your mental health too. Here are some ways to stay on top of your mental wellbeing:

  • Stay in touch with family and friends – even though you can't meet up in person, you can connect through phone calls, video calls, emails, social media or writing letters
  • Maintain healthy daily routines
  • Access support if you need it – a list of mental health help lines is available.

A full list of how to best take of your mental health and wellbeing (external link) is available.

What sort of mask should I wear and how do I wear one safely?

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WA Health recommends wearing single use surgical face masks or fitted reusable fabric masks. Bandanas, scarves or towels should not be used as a face mask substitute. Become familiar with the mask wearing requirements, and learn about the different types of masks (external link), how to use and clean them.

What are the important state and national helplines?

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Medical/COVID-19

  • Call the coronavirus (COVID-19) information helpline: 
  • National COVID-19 helpline: 1800 020 080 (anytime)
  • If you do not have a GP, contact HealthDirect on 1800 022 222

Mental health, safety and support

All other Emergency Assistance over-the-phone support and information during the COVID-19 pandemic can be found found on the Federal Government (external link) website.

I live with somebody who has tested positive for COVID-19, what should I do?

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The person who has tested positive should immediately isolate from the rest of the household and follow the guide for positive cases. You and anyone else you live with become household close contacts and should follow the relevant testing and isolation guide.

How do I reduce the risk of transmission if I live in a house with others?

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If you need to share a kitchen, bathroom or common space, try not to be in the same room as someone who has tested positive. Shared spaces should be cleaned regularly with disinfectant. Everyone should wear masks in shared spaces.

You should handle your own laundry wherever possible. Dirty linen, blankets, or clothing should be washed as usual in laundry detergent for the maximum washing cycle at the hottest applicable temperature.

Wipe down the washing machine buttons and dials with disinfectant.

Wash your hands in soap and water regularly (or use hand sanitiser).

If someone in my house has returned a positive test, can I receive a delivery?

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The delivery should be left outside the door of the property where you are isolating.

You must tell them when making the order that you are in isolation, so they can take the appropriate precautions. This includes wearing a mask and ensuring the delivery is contactless. 

You can open the door only after the delivery person has left or moved to a safe distance (at least three metres) from the delivery point, and must put on a mask before opening the door.

Try to limit how long you are outside while accepting the delivery.

If your delivery is from your support person and you need to talk to them, do so from inside your home and limit the amount of time your door remains open. Your support person must also wear a mask.

Page reviewed 24 May 2022