e-Blast: Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information for QDN Members (09 March 2020)

There has been a lot of information in the media about the coronavirus and we wanted to provide some practical information to QDN members.  Firstly, we know many people only develop mild illness and recover easily.

There is no need to excessively stockpile food and medications (see below).  It is wise to always have some extra food at home and other supplies like medications and pet food, in case you become unwell or need to self-quarantine.  Below we have provided some information that will answer questions you may have.

How is the Coronavirus (COVID-19) transmitted?

The coronavirus is most likely to spread by:

  • Person to person contact, when one person has symptoms;
  • An infected person coughing or sneezing; and
  • Possible contaminated surfaces.

How can you protect yourself

  • Clean your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rubs regularly,
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or flexed elbow when coughing or sneezing,
  • Avoid contact with anyone who has symptoms such as fever, a cough, sore throat, fatigue, and shortness of breath, and
  • Stay home if you are unwell.

It’s really important to ask your support worker to follow the guidelines above as well.

What are the symptoms?

What are the symptoms? Fever, cough, fatigue, sore throat, shortness of breath

Figure 1 Graphic courtesy of Queensland Health

What to do if you cannot go to the shops to get basic supplies or medication that you need?

Red Cross may be able to assist in organising food or medication drops to people.  Call the Red Cross hotline on 1800 733 111 for more information.

If you get support services, you can contact your support organisation directly to discuss your situation.  Your support organisation may be able to give you points of contact in your area.

You can also speak with your family, friends and neighbours about how you may be able to can support each other through this emergency.

Can you still go out and do things such as attend your Local Support Group?

Yes, there is no need to stay at home or cancel any events or gatherings or take additional precautions to normal practice if you are feeling well. People who are unwell should not attend public events.

What to do if your support worker becomes unwell

If your support worker thinks they may have been in close contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus, they should arrange alternate people to support you.

If you are concerned contact your support organisation directly to discuss your concerns or to get more information.

What to do if you think you have Novel Coronavirus, or if you have been in close contact with someone who already has it?

  • If you develop symptoms as described above, you should seek immediate medical attention. Call ahead to your GP or emergency department and mention if you know you’ve been in contact with someone with the novel coronavirus infection before you arrive;
  • If you have symptoms of novel coronavirus and have travelled overseas in the past 14 days, you need to see a doctor immediately.
  • If the doctor says you have novel coronavirus you will have to  stay at home or in a healthcare setting until public health authorities inform you it is safe for you to return to your usual activities; and
  • People who are self-quarantined at home can call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) for further advice and to register for support. Staff at 13 HEALTH will connect people through to a local Public Health Unit and other health support services when appropriate.

What to do if you are experiencing financial hardship as a result of being self-quarantined?

People who are experiencing personal financial hardship as a result of being in self-quarantined are encouraged to contact the Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors by emailing CRshecclo@communities.qld.gov.au

What to do if you are experiencing stress and anxiety or are feeling isolated?

  • It is normal to feel stressed or confused during an unusual situation. Talking to people you trust can help including family, friends, support workers.
  • People in self-quarantine can also call the Red Cross hotline on 1800 733 111 to receive over-the-phone psychosocial support and non-contact practical assistance.
  • Limit worry by lessening the time you  spend watching or listening to media coverage that you find

Think about ways you have managed when you have felt similar feelings and draw upon those skills to help you manage your emotions during this health challenge.

NDIS Participant Information

NDIS participants, families and carers can request alternatives to face-to-face meetings, if participants are concerned about their exposure to respiratory illness.  For more information, please visit the NDIS website https://www.ndis.gov.au/understanding/ndis-and-other-government-services/ndis-and-disaster-response#coronavirus-information

Remember, the best things you can do right now are keep up to date information, wash your hands often and properly, stay 1.5 metres away from people coughing or sneezing, and stay home if you’re sick.

Useful links and phone numbers

Everything you need to know in language you can understand

Queensland Health frequently asked questions

Local State and Territory Health Departments

Coronavirus health topic

Health advice is kept up to date here

Call the National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If you require translating or interpreting services, call 131 450.

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