What you need to know about COVID-19 right now

How does COVID-19 spread?

Because COVID-19 is a new disease, our communities have no immunity. It has the potential to spread widely and quickly. The virus can spread through close contact with an infected person (including in the 24 hours before they had symptoms), contact with droplets from an infected person’s cough or sneeze, touching objects or surfaces (such as doorknobs or tables) that have been contaminated with droplets from an infected person, and then touching your mouth or face.

It’s not clear how long the virus can live on surfaces.

How can I protect myself and others?

Practise good hygiene (such as washing your hands frequently and putting used tissues straight in the bin) and social distancing (including only leaving the home if its essential, and staying at least 1.5 metres from other people). You should also observe the Federal Government’s limits on public gatherings (most non-essential gatherings are limited to two people).

If you have COVID-19, have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19, or arrived in Australia after midnight on March 15, 2020, you need to self-isolate. Amcal have provided a useful definition on what “isolate in your home”’ or “self-isolation” looks like on their COVID-19 FAQ site here.

Should I wear a mask in public?

In some parts of the world, such as Los Angeles and Singapore, wearing masks in public has been made mandatory. However, both the World Health Organisation and the Australian Government say that if you are generally healthy and not caring for a person who may have COVID-19, it is not recommended that you wear a surgical mask. “There is little evidence supporting the widespread use of surgical masks by healthy people,” the Department of Health says.

What are COVID-19’s symptoms?

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, coughing, sore throat, fatigue and shortness of breath.

What to do if you think you have symptoms

You can check your symptoms online using the Australian Government healthdirect Coronavirus (COVID-19) Symptom Checker. If you want to talk to someone about your symptoms, call the National Coronavirus Helpline: 1800 020 080.

For medical attention, you can go to a GP clinic, a hospital emergency department, or a dedicated coronavirus respiratory clinic. Note: Before visiting a GP or hospital, you must phone ahead to book an appointment, and follow any instructions you are given.

If you have serious symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, call 000.

Can I get tested?

Generally, only people who meet certain criteria are being tested, for example, people who have recently returned from overseas, healthcare workers, or people who have lived in an area with a higher risk of community transmission.

Your doctor will tell you if you should be tested and arrange the test.

Who is most at risk of getting seriously ill?

People who are potentially at a higher risk of serious illness if they get the virus are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 50 years and older with one or more chronic medical conditions, people aged 65 years and older with chronic medical conditions, people 70 years and older, or people with compromised immune systems.

Can I still pick up my prescriptions at the pharmacy?

Pharmacies remain open. Amcal Pharmacies offer home delivery of medication, which can be arranged over the phone or through the Amcal app. The Amcal app also allows you to manage your medications with reminders and alerts, script repeat requests, and allows you to order ahead with click and collect in addition to home delivery. If you’re a carer you can use the carer mode on the app to manage your loved one’s medications – and manage multiple different profiles in one place.

More resources

Amcal Pharmacies also have a dedicated FAQ site to help answer your key questions.

Now more than ever, if you’ve got questions, Just Ask Amcal – your trusted health partner.

Sources: All information, unless stated, is sourced from the Australian Department of Health

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