COVID-19 (Coronavirus): Latest Information

March 30, 2020

Learn more about Northern Health’s response and preparedness to COVID-19 (Coronavirus).
Last updated: 4 pm, 30 March 2020

What is COVID-19 (Coronavirus)?

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is a new strain that was discovered in 2019 and has not been previously identified in humans.

The COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak was identified as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday 12 March 2020.

Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.

The self-assessment uses the latest advice and will help you better understand the risks and precautions you need to take based on your personal circumstances. Click here to access this tool.

Visiting Northern Health

Northern Health is committed to providing safe care, and the safety and wellbeing of our patients, staff and community is of utmost importance.

We have infection control measures in place, and it remains safe to attend all Northern Health sites for your required treatment and appointments.

The following changes are effective from Monday, 30 March 2020:

  • Visiting Hours are from 4 pm to 8 pm
  • Maximum one hour visit
  • Only one visitor per day on all other ward/units (unless otherwise specified)
  • Visitors are now limited to close family members and significant others
  • Children under the age of 16 are not allowed
  • Emergency Department: One support person
  • Birthing Suite and Maternity Unit: One partner or support person
  • Children’s Unit: One carer, who can enter during visiting hours, and may stay 24/7
  • Intensive Care Unit: One support person
  • Social distancing must be practiced at the bedside

For the safety of our patients, we ask that you do not visit at Northern Health if you are unwell.

All visitors will be asked a series of health questions and will be temperature checked on arrival.

Palliative Care Unit – Heritage Care: Visiting hours are between 11 am and 8 pm. One to two visitors at a time is preferred.

Ian Brand Nursing Home: Visiting hours are from 4.30 pm to 5.30 pm. Only one visitor per resident please. No children under the age of 16 please.

We hope that you understand that these limitations on visitors and visiting hours are for the safety of your loved ones, and our community.


Northern Hospital Fever Clinic

Northern Health has established a Fever Clinic to screen for potential COVID-19 (Coronavirus) cases at Northern Hospital Epping. This clinic is open seven days a week from 9 am – 8 pm.

As our testing resources are limited, to ensure we use these resources for those who need it most, our Fever Clinic is currently only providing COVID-19 (Coronavirus) testing for people who:

  • Have returned from overseas in the past 14 days and have symptoms such as a fever (temperature over 37.5 degrees Celsius), cough or sore throat.
    OR
  • Have been in contact with a person with confirmed coronavirus infection and have symptoms such as a fever (temperature over 37.5 degrees Celsius), cough or sore throat.
    OR
  • Are a health care worker or residential aged care worker or resident and have a fever (temperature over 37.5 degrees Celsius), cough or sore throat.

OR

  • Are an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander and have a fever (temperature over 37.5 degrees Celsius), cough or sore throat.

You will not be tested for COVID-19 (Coronavirus) if you do not have any of these symptoms or meet these criteria.
We encourage you to consult your GP or contact the Department of Health and Human Services Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398 if you have any further questions.

Ways to reduce your risk of COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

  • Wash hands often with soap and running water, for at least 20 seconds. Dry with paper towel or hand dryer.
  • Try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have a tissue cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow.
  • Isolate yourself at home if you feel sick. If you take medication ensure you have adequate supplies.
  • Phone your GP first if you need medical attention. They will tell you what to do.
  • Continue healthy habits: exercise, drink water, get plenty of sleep, and now is the time to quit smoking. Call the Quitline on 137 848.
  • Don’t wear a face mask if you are well.
  • Buy an alcohol-based hand sanitiser with over 60 per cent alcohol.
  • Get the flu shot (available April).

You can download these tips in poster format below.
Ways to reduce your risk of coronavirus

Latest information 

As the situation is changing rapidly, please visit the Department of Health and Human Services website for the latest updates, including advice on symptoms and precautions.
Visit the Department of Health and Human Services website to find out more.

You can learn more about COVID-19 (Coronavirus), including advice on symptoms and precautions, on the Better Health Channel website.
Visit the Better Health Channel website to find out more.

Read the latest travel alerts on the Smartraveller website.
Visit the Smartraveller website to find out more.

If you suspect you may have COVID-19 (Coronavirus), please call the dedicated hotline on 1800 675 398.

Please only call Triple Zero (000) for emergencies.