Foundations of General Practice : A workbook for nurses
Information for primary and community health workers from the Australian Government Department of Health
The most recent information can be found from the Department of Health: Here find a collection of resources for health professionals, the general public and industry about novel coronavirus. Some are in both English and simplified Chinese.
An outbreak of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was detected in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China in late December 2019.
- Investigate and manage patients for respiratory illness using standard practices.
- For severe respiratory illness, transfer patients to public hospital emergency departments.
- Contact your state/territory public health unit or communicable disease branch for advice on suspected cases including diagnostic testing and specimen collection (contact info below).
- Most people infected with 2019-nCoV live in, or have recently travelled to mainland China. There have also been some cases reported in other countries.
- There is evidence of human-to-human transmission, including among healthcare workers.
- People are considered to be most infectious while symptomatic, however there is some evidence that asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic people are also able to transmit the virus.
- People who have recently returned from mainland China or who have had close contact with a confirmed case are being advised to self-isolate for 14 days.
- People in these circumstances have been advised to call ahead to medical clinics if they require medical attention.
Identify symptoms and exposure history
As the full clinical spectrum of illness is not known, clinical and public health judgement should also be used to determine the need for testing in patients who do not meet the epidemiological or clinical criteria below.
If the patient satisfies the epidemiological AND clinical criteria (listed below), they are classified as a suspected case:
Travel to (including transit through) mainland China in the 14 days before onset of illness.
Close contact* in 14 days before illness onset with a confirmed or suspected case of 2019-nCoV.
Acute respiratory infection (respiratory infection with at least one of: shortness of breath, cough or sore throat) with or without fever or history of fever.
* A close contact is defined as requiring:
- Greater than 15 minutes face-to-face contact in any setting with a confirmed case in the period extending from 24 hours before onset of symptoms in the confirmed case, or
- Sharing of a closed space with a confirmed case for a prolonged period (e.g. more than 2 hours) in the period extending from 24 hours before onset of symptoms in the confirmed case.
The above criteria are provisional only. They will be revised by public health authorities over time as more precise information emerges on the outbreak including characteristics of transmission, incubation and infectivity period and geographical spread. Updated information will be communicated when available.
Action for Patients who meet criteria
If following discussion it is decided that the patient does not require hospitalisation:
If following discussion it is decided that the patient does require hospitalisation:
** Please refer to the Public Health Laboratory Network (PHLN) website https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/content/Publications-13 for further information on routine tests to rule in or out possible alternate causes for the patient’s illness.
The Department of Health will provide regular updates as more information on this situation becomes available: www.health.gov.au
The Communicable Diseases Network Australia have developed interim recommendations for surveillance, infection control, laboratory testing and contact management for 2019-nCoV: https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/cdna-song-novel-coronavirus.htm
The Department of Health has produced a series of factsheets on 2019-nCov that you can share with your patients: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/collections/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-resources
For additional information on 2019-nCoV visit the World Health Organization website: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
Contact your state or territory Public Health Authority for advice on possible cases:
• ACT call 02 5124 9213 during business hours or (02) 9962 4155 after hours
• NSW call 1300 066 055
• NT call 08 8922 8044.
• Qld call 13HEALTH (13 43 25 84)
• SA call 1300 232 272
• Tas call 1800 671 738
• Vic call 1300 651 160
• WA call 08 9328 0553 or call your local public health unit