There are things you can do to help protect yourself and the community from COVID-19. Remember to stay home and get tested if you are unwell, wear a mask as needed, and stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations.
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How to prepare for COVID-19
Preparing for COVID-19 makes it easier if you become infected or exposed to COVID-19. Here are some helpful tips:
- Make sure you have enough face masks and hand sanitiser ready.
- Prepare a kit with basic medical supplies such as a thermometer, pain relief medication, electrolytes, your regular medications, and rapid antigen tests (RATs).
- Choose someone to deliver supplies such as groceries and medication. This can be a family member or a friend.
- Have someone ready to help look after your children, pets, or anyone else in your care, in case you need to go to hospital.
- Have an emergency contact list with important phone numbers, such as your nominated support person, emergency services, and a GP.
What to do if you have COVID-19
If you have COVID-19, please stay home if you have COVID-19 until your symptoms have resolved to protect our community. This could take up to 10 days or more and a minimum of 5 day is a good guide.
You can recover from COVID-19 at home if your symptoms are mild.
Contact a GP or GP Respiratory Clinic if you start to feel worse. You can also call Healthdirect on 1800 022 222. If your symptoms become severe, call 000 immediately.
- Manage your symptoms with rest and pain relief. Remember to check with your doctor if you are eligible for antiviral treatment.
- Stay at home until your symptoms resolve. This could take up to 10 days or more. A minimum of 5 days is a good guide.
- Don’t forget to tell anyone you have had close contact with that you have COVID. You’re most infectious 2 days before symptoms start.
- If you tested positive with a RAT, register your result with the Department of Health.
To protect those most at risk from COVID-19, for 7 days after testing positive for COVID-19 you should not visit or work in high-risk settings including hospitals, disability, mental health and aged care residential facilities and other healthcare settings (e.g., ambulance services, GP clinics, physiotherapy).
You can still attend public hospitals and high-risk settings for urgent medical care or treatment, but you should contact the facility to let them know you have tested positive for COVID-19.
Close contact with someone with COVID-19
You should take precautions if you have had close contact with someone who has developed COVID-19.
The COVID-19 infectious period is taken from 48 hours before onset of symptoms, or 48 hours before the positive test result if there are no symptoms.
To protect those most at risk from COVID-19, for 7 days after having been in close contact with someone who has tested positive you should not visit or work in high-risk settings including hospitals, disability, mental health and aged care residential facilities and other healthcare settings (e.g., ambulance services, GP clinics, physiotherapy).
You can still attend public hospitals and high-risk settings for urgent medical care or treatment, but you should contact the facility to let them know you've been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19.
If you work in a high-risk setting such as a hospital, residential care facility or other healthcare setting (e.g., GP clinic, dental services, physiotherapy, Aboriginal Medical Services), tell your employer you may have been exposed to COVID-19, and check the rules for your workplace.
After you have COVID-19
Most people with COVID-19 will recover completely within a few weeks and can care for themselves at home.
You may find you feel more tired or can’t concentrate as well as usual for some time after having COVID-19.
Information is available about what to expect after COVID-19 and how to take care of yourself while recovering.
Most cases of long COVID resolve but in rare cases, it can lead to long term health problems.
A person is usually considered to have long COVID if their symptoms have persisted for longer than two months after their initial infection. Most symptoms progressively resolve, and it is uncommon for symptoms to persist for more than a year.
Long COVID symptoms can include:
- extreme fatigue (tiredness)
- shortness of breath, heart palpitations, chest pain or tightness
- problems with memory and concentration
- changes to taste and smell
- joint and muscle pain.
If you continue to experience symptoms, make an appointment with your GP.
If you have previously had COVID-19 and develop new symptoms more than 35 days after your recovery, you should get tested again, as reinfection is possible. Please stay at home until your symptoms resolve. This could take up to 10 days or more and a minimum of 5 days is a good guide.