COVID-19 coronavirus: Health and wellbeing

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

Last updated: 31 May 2020 at 7.05am

From 6 June, gathering numbers will increase and additional businesses can reopen, as part of significant changes coming into effect in Phase 3 of the COVID-19 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.

  • Stay home if you're sick. Do not go to work or school.
  • 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.
  • 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 38°C or above
  • have a history of a fever in the last few days
    or
  • have an acute respiratory infection, e.g. shortness of breath, cough, sore throat etc.

There are COVID Clinics operating at:

  • hospital sites across the metropolitan area
  • 12 private pathology collection centres across the metropolitan area (GP referral required)
  • Bunbury Health Campus
  • Broome Hospital
  • Emergency Departments in regional and metropolitan WA.

COVID-19 testing clinic locations

Asymptomatic testing  

Asymptomatic testing for individuals from specific groups in the community, including healthcare workers, WA Police staff, supermarket, retail and hospitality workers will be available from 28 May to 10 June.

DETECT Snapshot testing is voluntary and will help to identify any community transmission. It will be available through COVID-19 testing clinics, a drive-through facility in Burswood, and a range of public and privately-operated pathology providers.

Those tested will be able to 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, including isolation and identification of any contacts for follow up and quarantine.

COVIDSafe app 

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

At least 40% of Australians need to use the app to make it functionally effective.

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.

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 hours at Western Australian public hospitals have been tightened to limit the flow of people through hospitals, better protecting patients and staff.

  • Children under 16 are not able to visit patients.
  • Hospital visiting hours are limited to 2 hours a day – one in the morning and one in the evening.
  • All adult patients, including those in maternity wards, are restricted to 2 visitors per day; the same 2 visitors may visit morning and evening.
  • Visitors to paediatric patients must be the same family members each day.
  • No visitors are allowed to see confirmed COVID-19 adult inpatients or COVID-19 inpatients under investigation.

Elective surgery

From 18 May, Western Australian public and private hospitals are operating at 50 percent of their usual elective surgery activity.

Elective surgery has resumed across all categories of surgery in WA, with a particular focus on categories 1 and 2 and people who have had long waits.

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 provide practical tips to keep within low-risk drinking limits.

This is particularly important throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and upcoming flu season, as alcohol consumption can weaken the immune system.

The WA Government is also giving more support to clinicians across WA who do not specialise in alcohol and drug issues to assist their patients.

The new Drug and Alcohol Clinical Advisory Service is a dedicated phone line for health professionals, which is provided by the Mental Health Commission’s experienced addiction medicine specialists.

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 61 8 9442 5000 or 1800 198 024 for country callers. 

For more information visit the Alcohol. ThinkAgain website.

Prisons

To protect Western Australia’s prisoners, detainees and staff from the spread of COVID-19, social prison visits have been suspended.

Additional phone calls are available to maintain contact with family, friends and loved ones. Other technological solutions, such as Skype, are also being explored.

For more information refer to the Department of Justice.

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 is also available. See information under Cahoots Connects for more.

Cahoots Connects

An essential shopping and delivery service called Cahoots Connects is 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.

The changes include:

  • allowing the court to impose a requirement that an offender be subject to electronic monitoring
  • permitting a judicial officer to include electronic monitoring as a home detention bail condition
  • improving access to restraining orders and enabling restraining order applications to be lodged online
  • creating a separate offence for breach of a family violence restraining order
  • increasing the penalty for breach of a family violence restraining order from $6000 to $10,000
  • extending the limitation period for prosecuting breach of restraining order offences to 2 years
  • allowing the Family Court and Children’s Court to issue interim restraining orders on an ex-parte basis, in the same way the Magistrates Court is permitted to do so.

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

What are Coronaviruses?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause illness in humans and animals. Human coronavirus illnesses are generally mild, such as the common cold.

However, some coronaviruses can cause severe diseases, such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which was identified in 2002, and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), which was identified in 2012.

COVID-19

This is a new coronavirus that was first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China in December 2019. It hasn’t previously been identified in humans. COVID-19 is closely related to SARS, and in the same family of viruses as MERS.

Symptoms

Symptoms include fever, sore throat, cough and/or shortness of breath, like the symptoms of the common cold. In severe cases, the virus can cause pneumonia with severe acute respiratory distress. From what we know now about COVID-19, the symptoms can occur between 2 and 14 days from exposure to the virus.

Transmission from person to person

COVID-19 can be spread from person to person. This can happen when a person comes into contact with the respiratory secretions of an infected person, for example, through coughing or sneezing. Spread of COVID-19 from person to person is usually between close contacts. Close contacts are those people who have been face-to-face with a person infected with the virus for at least 15 minutes, or have been in the same closed space for at least 2 hours with an infected person.

Treatment

There is no specific treatment for COVID-19 and, in most cases, symptoms will resolve on their own.

Vaccine

There are no available vaccines for COVID-19 at this time.

Page reviewed 31 May 2020
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