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Can I talk to someone about COVID-19?

You can call these numbers 24 hours a day, seven days a week:

  • National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080
  • Service NSW on 13 77 88.

You can also call the Disability Information Helpline on 1800 643 787 between 8am-8pm, Monday to Friday.

Are there any special measures I need to take to protect myself from COVID-19?

Some things you can do to help protect yourself and others from COVID-19 include:

  • Clean your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, or use hand sanitizer. You should do this regularly during the day.
  • Wash your hands after you cough or sneeze.  Try to use a tissue, and cough or sneeze into your elbow.  Make sure you throw the tissue in the bin.
  • Avoid contact with people who are unwell or have cold or flu-like symptoms.
  • Try to stay 1.5 metres from other people and avoid crowded places
  • Avoid touching your face and don't shake hands with other people.

Find more information on how to protect yourself and others.

I’m a child.  Is there any special information for me?

There is a great book for kids called Hi this is Coronovirus.  

Children should generally follow the same advice as adults to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Can children get COVID-19?

Newborn babies and children can get COVID-19. Most babies, children and adolescents with COVID-19 have mild or no symptoms and recover within one to two weeks.

You can find more information on maternity, newborn babies, and schools, universities and childcare.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Symptoms of COVID-19 can include:

  • fever
  • scratchy or sore throat
  • cough
  • running nose
  • feeling short of breath
  • headache
  • loss of your sense of taste
  • loss of your sense of smell.

Other symptoms of COVID-19 can also include feeling tired, runny nose, sore muscles and joints, diarrhea, nausea/vomiting or loss of appetite.

It normally takes five to six days for symptoms of COVID-19 to appear after a person has been exposed to the virus. Symptoms can start as early as two days, or as late as 14 days after exposure.  

Getting tested for COVID-19

Who needs to get tested for COVID-19?

If you have any of the symptoms of COVID-19 you should get tested.

Where can I get tested for COVID-19? 

There are lots of ways you can get tested for COVID-19.

You can have a test at your local doctor’s office, in your car at a drive through clinic, at a hospital or at a COVID-19 clinic.

You can also get tested at a private pathology site.

You can find a list of COVID-19 clinics.

You can also call the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080 about a place where you can get tested that is:

  • close to where you live
  • easy for you to use.

If someone in my household has symptoms and is being tested, does everyone else have to be tested?

If someone in your household has been tested, they should self-isolate themselves while they are waiting for the result.

You and other people in your household only need to be tested if you have symptoms, are a close contact of someone who has tested positive, or have come back from overseas or a hotspot interstate.

How can I find a disability accessible COVID-19 testing clinic?

All NSW Health hospital clinics are wheelchair accessible. You can find information about where to get tested.

If you are deaf, or have a hearing or speech impairment, you can write or type on your phone or paper to tell the person who is testing you that you need them to write down questions or information.

My family member, carer or support worker is coming with me while I get tested for COVID-19. What special precautions should they take?

Any carer or family member accompanying a person with disability to be tested for COVID-19 should:

  • wear a mask
  • keep 1.5m physical distance from other people
  • use hand sanitiser
  • avoid crowds on the way to and from the testing clinic.

Once I’ve had my test

How quickly will I get the result?

Your test will go to a specialist NSW Health Pathology COVID-19 laboratory and you will get the result within 3 days.

If you don’t get your result within 3 days, you should contact the place where you got tested.

How will I receive my result?

There are different ways to get your test results:

  • by text or phone call – the text results or call from NSW Health might come from an unregistered number on your phone.
  • the place you get tested will provide you with simple steps on how you can receive your results by text message
  • you can also ask that your family member or carer receive your test results for you.

What happens if I test positive for COVID-19?

A positive test result means that you have COVID-19.

If you get a positive test result, someone from the NSW Health Public Health Unit will call you.

They will ask you questions about your health, your symptoms, who you have seen lately, where you have been lately, what support you need.

The NSW Health Public Health Unit will tell you what do to next.

If I get better, and then get symptoms again do I have to get tested again?

Yes.  You need to get tested for COVID-19 every time you get COVID-19 symptoms.  Even if you previously tested negative and have recovered.

Self-isolation

What is self-isolation?

Self-isolation means staying separated from other people.

If you have to self-isolate, it might be because you have COVID-19, or you have come into contact with someone who has COVID-19, have returned from overseas or interstate travel to hotspots, or you are waiting for your test results.

What would isolation look like for me? 

When you are waiting for your COVID-19 test results you must stay at home and self-isolate.

Sometimes the Public Health Unit will ask you to self-isolate if you have been in contact with someone with COVID-19.

When you are self-isolating, you should only leave your home to go to the doctor or hospital, or because of an emergency.

You cannot leave your home to go to work, school, childcare, university, recreation facilities, public areas, or go shopping or exercise.

While you self-isolate you cannot have any visitors except those who are providing care for you in your home. You should try to stay at least 1.5 metres away from them whenever possible. 

It is ok if you can’t stay 1.5 metres away from carers and family and support workers because of your disability.

If you are self-isolating:

  • the people who care for you should wear a mask when they are inside your house
  • if you live with other people, you should stay in the same room most of the time and use a separate bathroom if you can
  • you should also make sure you clean the things you eat or drink from or touch.

If you are well enough, there are plenty of things you’re allowed to do if you are in self-isolation at home. You can talk to friends and family on the phone, watch television, read books or magazines, exercise in your yard or on your verandah (if you have one), or do other activities at home.

How will someone let me know if I have to be in isolation?

Someone from NSW Health will let you know if you have to self-isolate via text message or phone call.

How will my care change while I’m in isolation?

While you self-isolate you cannot have visitors except those who are providing care for you in your home.

You should try to stay at least 1.5 metres away from them whenever possible.

It is ok if you can’t stay 1.5 metres away from carers and family and support workers because of your disability.

The people who care for you should wear a mask when they are in your house.

It is important that the people who are caring for you monitor their symptoms and practice good infection control while looking after you.

More information is available at COVID-19 (Coronavirus) - Guidance for risk screening and assessment for home visiting health services.

Can I still access my usual supports in isolation?

If you are in isolation you are only allowed to leave the house to receive health care or in an emergency, but you will still be able to receive your essential disability supports while you are self-isolating at home.

When you are self-isolating you cannot do some of the things you may normally do, like leave your home to go to day programs.

How do I do my shopping?

If you need groceries or medicines (including prescription medicines), ask a family member or friend (who is not in isolation) to deliver them to your home or shop for groceries online. Some supermarkets are offering priority services for people in isolation.

To prevent infecting other people, make sure you wear a mask when receiving a delivery or have the groceries left at your door.

How do I get my medications?

You can receive essential Medicare-funded health services in your home.  For most prescription medicines, your doctor can send your prescription directly to your pharmacy. A relative or friend can collect the medicine from the pharmacy for you, or you may be eligible for free home delivery under the Home Medicines Service.

Can I go to the doctor?

You can leave your home to go to the doctor or seek medical advice.  Make sure that you wear a mask if you leave your house.

You can also leave your home if it is an emergency. Call 000 for emergency help.  

If I need to go into self-isolation, do the people who have been caring for me or living with me have to go into isolation too?

If you test positive to COVID-19, the people who would normally care for you or live with you will also need to self-isolate for 14 days. This helps to stop the spread of COVID-19.

If you have been told to self-isolate because you were in contact with someone who has COVID-19, or are waiting for a test result, the people who care for you or live with you do not need to self-isolate. But they should wear a mask when providing care to you.

Do I have to be retested before I can get out of isolation?

If you remain well after your 14 days in self-isolation finishes, you do not need to be retested.

If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 during isolation, or you still have any symptoms at the end of your isolation, you should contact your doctor or the local Public Health Unit on 1300 066 055.  They will tell you what you need to do next. You may need to be retested for COVID-19.

Read more about release from isolation.

When my isolation is over can I go back to my normal routine and activities?

Once you have finished your isolation, you can go back to your usual routines as long as they are permitted by the Public Health Orders.

Public Health Orders

What are Public Health Orders?

Public Health Orders are rules made by the Minister for Health to protect the health of the community, especially during COVID-19.  They talk about what you should do to:

  • look after your health
  • protect the community
  • stop the spread of COVID-19.

There are rules about:

  • how many people you can meet within a public place
  • how many visitors you can have in your home
  • what services and businesses can be open
  • what services and businesses must be closed
  • where you can and can’t travel.

For more information about the Public Health Orders, go to:

What happens if a person with disability cannot follow the Public Health Orders?  

The Public Health Orders apply to all residents in NSW.

If there are reasons why you cannot follow the Public Health Orders, you should call Service NSW 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 13 77 88.

Going to hospital

Can I have visitors while I’m in hospital?

You can have another person - like a family member or carer - with you when you go to hospital. But there are restrictions about who can stay with you.

Because COVID-19 is very easily spread, visitors are only allowed in special circumstances.

You should talk to hospital staff about your needs.

Your care team will assess each case on its merits.

What special support is available for me in hospital if I have a disability?

When you go to hospital, nurses and doctors will ask you questions about your health and other needs.

They might ask you about:

  • how you are feeling
  • how you like to communicate
  • what supports you normally have at home
  • if you are an NDIS participant
  • how they can help you.

You can answer these questions yourself, or you can choose to have your family member, carer or support worker answer the questions for you. 

Is there free WiFi in hospital?

Most NSW Health facilities have free WiFi. If you have any problems, ask hospital staff for help.

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Current as at: Friday 21 August 2020
Contact page owner: Health Protection NSW