COVID-19 (Coronavirus): Latest Information

May 19, 2020

Learn more about Northern Health’s response and preparedness to COVID-19
Last updated: 8 am Tuesday 19 May 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.

  • 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.
    If the patient is confirmed for inpatient admission with suspected/confirmed COVID-19,  the support person will not be able to stay.
  • 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
  • Day Oncology Unit: No Visitors
  • Social distancing must be practiced at the bedside

Emergency Department: One support person.
If the patient is confirmed for inpatient admission with suspected/confirmed COVID-19,  the support person will not be able to stay.
Birthing Suite: We understand this can be an anxious time for expecting mothers due to give birth in the coming weeks. Rest assured, women having their baby at Northern Hospital Epping can continue to have a partner or a support person with them in the Birthing Suite. We hope that you understand that these limitations on visitors and visiting hours are for the safety of your loved ones, and our community.
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.
Palliative Care Unit – Heritage Care: Visiting hours are between 11 am and 8 pm. Only one visitor is permitted at a time for a maximum two hour visit. Patients nearing end of life are permitted to have up to six visitors per day, while adhering to the one visitor at a time restrictions.

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.

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 – 8.30 pm and is located next to the DPV Health. When approaching, please follow the signage towards the clinic.
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.

Click here for current case definition.

Symptom-Free Clinic reopening as part of 150,000 testing blitz

The second phase of symptom-free testing clinics across Victoria has commenced. Our clinic will be available for anyone targeted by the Department of Health and Human Services for testing, and right now there’s a focus on testing teachers and all school staff. The clinic will be open at Northern Hospital from 9 am – 5 pm, seven days a week.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Victorians are considered a high risk for COVID-19 due to higher rates of pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes, heart and lung disease than non-Aboriginal people. This means that it is important for Aboriginal people that are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms to get tested early and, if you do have COVID-19, ensure you can access treatment quickly. See details on our Fever Clinic above. Click here for a fact sheet from the Department of Health and Human Services.

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.