COVID-19 coronavirus: Health and wellbeing

Information on testing, mental health, people with disability and hospitals.

Last updated: 23 October 2020 at 1.18pm

From Saturday 27 June, the number of people permitted to gather increased and additional businesses could reopen, as part of significant changes coming into effect in Phase 4 of the WA Roadmap.

On this page you will find:

Physical distancing and hygiene

Every Western Australian needs to play their part to help stop the spread of COVID-19. This means following good hygiene habits and physical distancing.

  • If you’re sick, stay home. Don’t go to work, don’t go to school, don’t go out (except to get tested), and don’t have visitors.
  • Keep 1.5 metres away from others.
  • Don't make unnecessary physical contact with others — avoid physical greetings such as handshakes, hugs and kisses.
  • Use tap and pay instead of cash, where possible.
  • Wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitiser.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Use a flexed elbow or a tissue; if you use a tissue, dispose of it immediately and appropriately.

For more information see Australian Government advice for physical distancing.

Future outbreaks

To avoid an outbreak, we must all continue to follow the restrictions in place, observe physical distancing and practice good personal hygiene.

If an outbreak occurs after restrictions are lifted, the WA Government will consult with health experts and respond appropriately.

COVID-19 testing

You may be tested if you:

  • present with a fever of 37.5°C or above
    or
  • have had a fever in the last few days (for example, night sweats or chills), without a known source
    or
  • have acute respiratory symptoms (for example, coughing, shortness of breath, sore throat)
    or
  • have acute loss of smell or taste. 

If you have respiratory symptoms, go to a COVID clinic for a test. Get tested early – you are most infectious when you first experience symptoms.

There are COVID Clinics operating at:

  • hospital sites across the metropolitan area
  • Bunbury Health Campus
  • Broome Hospital
  • 11 private pathology collection centres across the metropolitan area (GP referral required)
  • several respiratory clinics in the metropolitan area, Halls Head, Geraldton and Albany.

A third regional COVID clinic in Western Australia has opened at Kununurra District Hospital and will be open from 8am to 4.30pm, 7 days a week. 

See COVID-19 testing clinic locations.

While waiting for your test results, you must isolate unless told otherwise. Stay at home. If you fail to do so, you may be charged and fined. 

If you are self-quarantining, you are permitted to walk to a COVID clinic for testing, provided the clinic is within 2km of your self-quarantining residence. While walking, you must ensure you keep 1.5m from others and only travel to and from the testing clinic.

New program to test wastewater for COVID-19 

WA’s wastewater will soon be tested for COVID-19, with an evaluation program to expand PCR testing to the State’s sewerage network.

The Collaboration on Sewage Surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 (ColoSSoS) Project will track and monitor for traces of COVID-19 in WA's sewerage network.

It will be led by the WA Health system, with testing undertaken by PathWest, to provide an opportunity for evaluation and review of the role of wastewater surveillance for COVID-19 in WA.

Testing is expected to begin within the next month.

For more information see the New program to test wastewater for COVID-19 media statement.

COVID-19 testing for border workers and hotel quarantine staff

New weekly testing of WA border and hotel quarantine workers who display no symptoms of COVID-19 will run from now until the end of November to swiftly detect and prevent, or limit community transmission.

The DETECT Borders program offers free, voluntary testing for volunteer frontline workers at COVID clinics in the metro and regional areas, and some will be facilitated in the affected workplaces to maximise participation.

People who fit the criteria for asymptomatic testing can resume normal activities immediately and will be informed of a negative result via SMS. Anyone who tests positive will be followed up in line with existing public health procedures.

People who are eligible for testing include adult workers who display no symptoms of COVID-19 working or contracted at:

  • State Health Incident Control Centre (SHICC) quarantine hotels
    • Hotel employees (including contractors
    • Security staff working at the hotel
    • Health staff
    • Drivers of transport of quarantine guests
    • WA Police
    • Others, such as Australian Defence Force.
       
  • Perth Airport
    Workers on-site at Perth Airport in areas through which arriving passengers (or their baggage) transit including:
    • Perth Airport or airline staff
    • WA Police
    • Security
    • Federal agencies
    • Drivers of hotel quarantine buses.
       
  • Sea ports
    Any employee or contractor involved in any function of a sea port that involves close contact with people arriving from overseas.
     
  • Eucla and Kununurra border crossings   
    Any employee or contractor involved in any function at Eucla or Kununurra border crossings that requires close contact with people arriving from interstate.

Any other community member who has symptoms of COVID-19, even if mild, is encouraged to get tested so we can catch cases before they spread.

COVID-19 symptoms include fever, history of fever, or respiratory symptoms including shortness of breath, cough and/or sore throat, or acute loss of taste and smell.

For details of clinics and opening hours, visit http://www.healthywa.wa.gov.au/Coronavirus

For more information see the DETECT Borders fact sheet.

DETECT snapshot captures no COVID-19 cases

The 2-week testing blitz on 18,409 asymptomatic people across Western Australia resulted in no positive COVID-19 cases detected. This provides further evidence there are no undetected cases of COVID-19 in the community.

Healthcare workers, WA Police staff, school staff, meat workers, and workers in the retail, hospitality, transport and tourism industries were invited to undergo a voluntary swab test. Major cohorts tested were:

  • 11,192 healthcare workers (61%)
  • 2197 school staff (12%)
  • 1852 retail workers (10%)
  • 925 hospitality workers (5%)
  • 875 meat workers (5%).

WA Police staff, transport workers and tourism industry workers accounted for under 5 per cent each.

For more information see the Picture of wellness captured in DETECT Snapshot media statement.

COVIDSafe app

The WA Government is encouraging residents to download the Australian Government’s COVIDSafe app.

Downloading the app is voluntary, but it is highly recommended by the Chief Medical Officer. It will help keep our community safe and ensure we can get back to normal as quickly as possible.

Reasons to use the app:

  • It makes contact tracing faster and more thorough, which is vitally important in the fight against COVID-19.
  • It will notify you if you’ve been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 (and is also using the app).
  • It will allow health officials to contact you if you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

All information is stored locally on your phone and any other access or use of the data will be a criminal offence.

Once the pandemic is over and the app is no longer needed, the app and all its data will be deleted permanently.

Your wellbeing

If you are experiencing heightened levels of anxiety or stress due to the pandemic, you can access resources and more information at the Think Mental Health website or visit the Department of Health website for more information on ‘Health and wellbeing during COVID-19’.

WA Recovery College to enhance wellbeing

A State-wide Recovery College for mental health and wellbeing has officially opened.

It will deliver courses and education from people who have experienced a recovery journey before.

The college is part of a WA Government commitment to provide more community-based services and support early intervention and recovery, with the COVID-19 pandemic impacting many people.

The Metropolitan Wheatbelt, South-West and Goldfields regions will be operational as part of phase one, and the Pilbara/Kimberley regions will open as part of phase 2 in 2022.

 The college is looking for educators to co-design and deliver courses. To apply visit http://www.warecoverycollege.org.au

For more information see the State-wide Recovery College to enhance wellbeing media statement. 

Influenza vaccinations

There is no vaccination for COVID-19, but there is for influenza. It is more important than ever to be vaccinated this year — especially if the influenza season overlaps with COVID-19 cases.

$400,000 has been set aside for free influenza vaccinations for primary school aged children.

Read more about protecting yourself and others from influenza.

Hospitals

Visiting conditions at Western Australian public hospitals have been partially eased.

Children can now visit patients, and maternity patients can be accompanied by 2 birthing partners.

Visitor restrictions to confirmed and suspected COVID-19 patients remain in place at all public hospitals.

To ensure the safety of staff and patients, physical distancing throughout all locations remains critically important, and visitors should continue to practice good personal hygiene.

Public hospital elective surgery back at full capacity

Elective surgery in Western Australia has returned to 100 per cent capacity.

The Department of Health will develop and coordinate a plan to address the backlog of cases.

For more information see the Public hospital elective surgery back at full capacity media statement.

Self-quarantine and elective surgery

Precautions need to be put in place to protect staff and patients while you attend the hospital.

If you are in self-quarantine you cannot undergo elective surgery. Contact the hospital to reschedule your surgery for when you are cleared from quarantine.

Alcohol consumption

The WA Government has invested $330,000 into an Alcohol.ThinkAgain education campaign to help people reduce their risk of alcohol-related harm during the COVID-19 pandemic and flu season, and provide practical tips to keep within low-risk drinking limits.

For anyone concerned about their own or a loved one’s alcohol or drug use, the Alcohol and Drug Support Line is available 24 hours a day for information and support on (08) 9442 5000 or 1800 198 024 for country callers.

A new Drug and Alcohol Clinical Advisory Service phone line is available for health professionals, provided by the Mental Health Commission’s experienced addiction medicine specialists. It operates 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday on (08) 6553 0520.

For more information visit the Alcohol.ThinkAgain website.

Support for people with a disability

If you receive services from a disability provider, contact your provider if you require additional support as a result of COVID-19.

If you are connected to the Department of Communities, call (08) 6167 8000 or 1800 998 214 for assistance.

If you are connected to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), call 1800 800 110.

If you have been instructed to self-isolate as a result of COVID-19 and need assistance with accommodation, food or other essential items, you can call the Disaster Response Hotline on 1800 032 965.

An essential shopping and delivery service called Cahoots Connects is also available to support individuals isolated in their homes.

The service is provided by non-profit organisation Cahoots, in partnership with the Department of Communities, National Disability Services, suppliers and retail partners, including supermarkets and pharmacies.

For more information visit the Cahoots website or call 1300 103 880.

National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

Measures have been introduced to support NDIS participants and providers during the COVID-19 pandemic, including:

  • extending NDIS plans
  • proactive outreach to high risk participants
  • giving financial assistance to providers, such as advance payments.

For more information visit the NDIS website.

Accessing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission has published new information on how disability service providers can access PPE.

Family violence

The WA Government has enforced important laws to protect victims of family and domestic violence who are at an increased risk during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more information see the New laws to protect family violence victims during COVID-19 pandemic media statement.

Page reviewed 23 October 2020