Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) update

11 March 2020

COORDINARE is commencing a regular COVID-19 update to support general practice with provision of key information. As the situation is changing rapidly, rather than author new content that may become quickly out of date, COORDINARE’s approach will be to provide authoritative web links.

Keeping informed

Health professionals can keep up to date with the latest information on the new novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in NSW via the NSW Health website and via the Australian Government Department of Health website. This includes information on countries at risk for returning travellers which has been updated this week.

The Chief Medical Officer has commenced a twice weekly communication with medical health professionals, you can view the first communication here.

Being prepared

To assist you prepare your practice, a pandemic respiratory illness pathway is currently live on Illawarra Shoalhaven HealthPathways and ACT & Southern NSW HealthPathways.

The Department of Health is providing access to a limited stockpile of surgical masks for general practices, Aboriginal Controlled Community Health Organisations and community pharmacies to provide to people who have symptoms and might be infected with COVID-19, to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to anyone else whilst seeking medical advice according to this guidance document. If you are a general practice or community pharmacy and meet the criteria listed in the guidance document, please contact your Health Coordination Consultant or email to request a box of masks. Please note: surgical masks are not recommended for patients in practice waiting rooms who are asymptomatic and do not have identified risk factors.

For information on correct use of PPE refer to this RACGP poster.

A guide on the management of non-inpatient cases of COVID-19 has been developed by the DoH.

Patients who fulfil the case definition for investigation for COVID-19 infection and have mild to moderate symptoms can be tested in general practice or at dedicated testing collection centres that perform nasopharyngeal swab collection. Laverty Pathology has currently advised this is located at their Balgownie site. Southern IML has currently advised these are located at their Nowra and Wollongong collection sites. Capital Pathology has currently advised for Southern NSW these are located at their Bega, Merimbula, Jindabyne, Cooma, Braidwood, Queanbeyan and Goulburn collection sites.

COVID-19 is a notifiable disease therefore positive COVID-19 test results must be reported to the PHU on 1300 066 055.

Guidelines for self-isolation can be found here.

Surface cleaning information is provided by the RACGP in the environmental cleaning section of their webpage on Coronavirus information for GPs.  

Resources for use within your practice including RACGP posters for your surgery front door or hand wash posters for waiting rooms or toilets are available here.

Flu vaccination

Flu vaccination will be an important measure to protect the community from flu and reduce bed pressure at our local hospitals. Ordering of vaccines is now underway and vaccination from April will provide protection before the peak season.

Health alert, Quality in general practice, Resources