Symptoms of COVID-19
Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, runny nose and shortness of breath.
In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia with severe acute respiratory distress.
How COVID-19 is spread
Human coronaviruses are spread from someone infected with COVID-19 to other people in close contact
- through contaminated droplets spread by coughing or sneezing, or
- by contact with contaminated hands, surfaces or objects.
When COVID-19 symptoms appear
The time between exposure to the virus and the first appearance of symptoms is typically 5 to 6 days, although it may range from 2 to 14 days.
For this reason, people who might have been in contact with someone confirmed to have COVID-19 are being asked to self-isolate for 14 days.
To help prevent the spread of COVID-19 (or the flu):
- wash your hands frequently with soap and water, before and after eating, and after going to the toilet
- cough into your elbow or into a tissue and immediately put the tissue in the bin, and
- if unwell, avoid contact with others (stay more than 1.5 metres from people).
When to get tested for COVID-19
Testing for COVID-19 is recommended for:
- anyone returning from overseas travel who develops symptoms within 14 days of return
- people who have been in close contact with someone confirmed to have COVID-19 and develop symptoms within 14 days of last contact
- people admitted to hospital with severe respiratory infection, even if they haven’t returned from overseas travel.
How COVID-19 is diagnosed
Infection with COVID-19 is diagnosed by finding evidence of the virus in respiratory samples such as swabs from the back of the nose and throat or fluid from the lungs.
Samples for testing can be taken:
- directly by GPs, or
- at private pathology sites across NSW suitable for collection of COVID-19, or
- at public hospitals across NSW.
How COVID-19 compares with the flu
The Five Steps to Kicking Out Caronavirus (from the World Health Organisation)
The World Health Organisation has advised that the five most important things you can do to protect yourself, other staff and the public are:
- wash your HANDS regularly
- using soap and water (at least 40 seconds is recommended)
- using an alcohol-based handrub, particularly if hands are not visibly soiled, (a minimum 20 seconds is recommended) – on road operators and drivers should carry additional handrub.
- practice good respiratory hygiene/etiquette. cover your mouth while coughing or sneezing with a tissue or inside of ELBOW, and dispose of tissue immediately into a sealed container or biohazard bin
- wash your hands after coughing or sneezing, or handling contaminated tissues
- turn your head away from others when coughing or sneezing
- avoid touching your FACE, particularly your eyes, nose and mouth (even if wearing gloves)
- maintain a DISTANCE of at least 1 metre from other people
- stay at home if you FEEL unwell or have symptoms of acute respiratory infection, wear a surgical face mask when in the presence of others who may be at risk, and seek medical care if you exhibit respiratory distress
Keep Yourself Updated with the Facts (not everything you read on the internet is true!)
We urge everyone to take steps to maintain their health and wellbeing, and to help Stop the Spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). The health authorities are continually updating advice on the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19), and we recommend that you all keep yourselves updated with the information on the Australian Government Department of Health website – www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert