Coronavirus Health Alert: Information from SmartClinics

coronavirus health alert

As more cases of COVID-19 (the new coronavirus) are confirmed around the world, it is becoming increasingly clear that we need to take some basic precautions to maintain hygiene levels and ensure that we do all that we can as individuals to help halt the spread of the virus.

Before you read on, register for your flu vaccine.

Who are the confirmed coronavirus cases in QLD?

Of the 10 confirmed cases in Queensland (as of March 3rd), 5 contracted the virus on a tour of Wuhan, 3 came from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, 1 was from a woman who had been on a trip to Iran, and 1 was from a man from China who travelled through Dubai.

Key messages for SmartClinics patients who suspect they have the coronavirus:

This SmartClinics Health Alert is for people who meet the following criteria:

  • Travelled to, or through, the following countries:
    • China
    • Cambodia
    • Hong Kong
    • Indonesia
    • Iran
    • Italy
    • Japan
    • Singapore
    • South Korea
    • Thailand
  • Or had close contact with a person who has travelled in these areas in 14 days prior to presentation; or
  • If you have a fever; or
  • If you have an Acute Respiratory Infection (even if you don’t have a fever).

If you fulfil any of these criteria, please observe the following guidelines:

  • Stay Isolated. If possible, stay inside your home. Avoid contact with other people.
  • If possible, wear a mask if you need to leave your house or travel.
  • Call your local emergency department – do not attend a medical centre to avoid possibly spreading the virus.
  • Maintain a distance of at least 1m from all people at all times.

If you are unsure whether you fit the above criteria, please observe the following guidelines:

  • Call ahead of time to book an appointment with the Doctor – DO NOT BOOK ONLINE.
  • Tell your doctor about your symptoms, travel history and any recent close contact with someone who has coronavirus.
  • If you must leave home to see your doctor, wear a surgical mask (if you have one) to protect others.

Queensland Government Coronavirus Guidelines

Queensland Health has released a range of advice for those who suspect they may have coronavirus, or for those who wish to avoid it. A brief summary is below.

If you have recently returned from China or Iran:

  • You should self-quarantine for 14 days from the date you departed those countries.
  • If you develop a fever, a cough or become short of breath you should immediately call a GP or emergency department. Let them know that you have recently travelled, and where to.

If you have been in close contact with someone who has a confirmed case of the coronavirus:

  • You should self-quarantine for 14 days from the date you last had contact with that person.
  • If you develop a fever, a cough or become short of breath you should immediately call a GP or emergency department. Let them know that you have recently travelled, and where to.

If you have recently returned from Italy or South Korea and were employed as a healthcare worker or in an aged care residence:

  • You should self-quarantine for 14 days from the date you departed those countries.

How does the coronavirus spread?

Person to person transmission is the most common way for coronavirus to spread. Sneezing and coughing is a common way for the virus to leave the body and find its way to new hosts. Droplets of body fluid, such as saliva, may contain the coronavirus when expressed from an infected carrier. The coronavirus can also spread through contact with contaminated surfaces. Keep in mind, not much is known about the new coronavirus – it is a very different virus to the flu.

How to protect yourself from the coronavirus

Good personal hygiene is key to limiting your risk to the coronavirus. Some other tips that can help you avoid an infection include:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with alcohol-based hand rubs, or soap and water, regularly throughout the day and after contact with other people or surfaces.
  • If you have a cough, or find yourself sneezing, always cover your mouth. This will help reduce the risk of you infecting those around you.
  • Encourage others to stay home when they are unwell. If you manage a team of employees, let them know that they should call in sick if they have symptoms.
  • Avoid contact with anyone who displays symptoms of the coronavirus, including coughing, respiratory irritation, fatigue, shortness of breath, or a fever.

For more information from Queensland Health, visit this page.

Book an appointment with a GP

If you suspect you have coronavirus, please call ahead to make your appointment and explain in detail why you believe you may have the virus.

Click here to find a medical centre near you.

Click here for information about the 2020 flu shot.