Coronavirus Specific Management Advice – Updated 2020-03-15

Author Dr Cedric Chu

Please note that we have 2 pages on Coronavirus. This page is for specific information for those patients who are actually quarantined or have the virus.

Our other page is general information and is aimed at people who want to learn more about it to understand their risk and pre-prepare. It also includes links. Please click here to be taken to that page.

What is this page about?

We will keep this page to be about specific management advice that is has been collated from many sources to help you manage yourself in the event of being exposed to or infected with the Coronavirus.

Disclaimer: Please note this page has been written by Dr Cedric Chu compiled from sources other than the official Australian Government Health Department advice as there are other authorities who have better advice. It is also written to be simple advice with easy categorisations for the average lay person to understand. If there is a discrepancy between our advice and official advice then please be assured that this is not in error but because we decided that the we needed to modify the advice to best suit the situation we are faced with. Be reassured we will be flexible and adaptable to the situation and update this page as needed.

What are my most likely scenarios?

Scenario 1
I have been exposed to the Coronavirus but I have no symptoms.

You are best to make an assessment of your risk and then isolate yourself. At this stage we would think the highest risk is close contact with a known infected person. Close contact means living with them and sharing time in their vicinity other than a casual encounter. Also if you have been exposed to body fluids. As of today we are also using overseas travel as a risk factor but with so many countries now affected this will become irrelevant soon. There is an official list on the links page but our practice is screening on all overseas travel at this stage.

Your action plan will be:

Isolate 14 days

Contact hospital to attend a fever clinic for testing if you are unwell enough

Watch for evidence of getting a chest infection or fever

Contact hospital if getting worse

DO NOT TAKE PUBLIC TRANSPORT

 

Scenario 2
I am not certain if I have Coronavirus because I haven’t been exposed but I have some sort of infection.

Your action plan will be:

If you aren’t sure, then call us but please tell our reception staff that you have an infection and they will ask you some questions and have our nurse or doctor triage you.

If we have a concern we may organise a car park consultation to avoid illness contaminating our premises.

If we don’t have concerns we will book you an appointment as per usual

DO NOT TAKE PUBLIC TRANSPORT IF NOT CERTAIN

 

Scenario 3
If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or you highly suspect that you have it, and you are getting worse, but you don’t think it has gone to your lungs

It is thought that the second week is when most people get worse if they are going to worsen. If you are becoming unwell and are in the second week then you need to be tested and because you are getting worse it is best to be done in a hospital.


Your action plan will be:

Contact hospital to attend a fever clinic for testing

DO NOT TAKE PUBLIC TRANSPORT

 

Scenario 4
I have known Coronavirus and I have high temps, trouble breathing or a worsening cough. 

Other concerning symptoms are chest pain, coughing blood, weakness.

It is highly likely that it has gone to your chest and you will need admission to hospital

Your action plan will be:

Call hospital and if you are severe then call an ambulance

DO NOT TAKE PUBLIC TRANSPORT

 

Additional Management Advice

Author Dr Cedric Chu

 

Isolating yourself for 14 days

Equipment needed for carers.

Gloves, gowns, aprons, garbage bags, ziplocks, disposable utensils, cups, plates, disinfectants, bleach, alcohol hand wash, clothes washing powder, sealable bin, sealable dirty clothes bags, phone and charger, thermometer – preferable ear or skin not mouth, emergency numbers for closest hospital

 

1. Patient should be isolated to well ventilated single room if possible.

2. Limit patient movement in the house in shared spaces and try and have a bathroom dedicated to patient if possible.

3. All other household members should stay 1m from patient and not share a room

4. Limit care giver to 1 person who is well and younger

5. Perform hand hygiene regularly before and after contact, toileting, handling food. Preferable with soap and running water. Try and use disposable hand towels. If using cloth towels remember that these can harbor the virus and then need to be washed between hand washes.

6. Patient to wear a mask where possible especially when engaging with others. Discard if possible.

7. Carers should wear a tightly fitted mask. Ideally masks will be P2, PG1, N95 masks but as there is a shortage Industrial masks will also suffice as long as they filter air and are well fitted. Masks should be disposed of if they are soiled.

8. Carer to also use gloves and gowns or aprons if possible.

9. Patient should have their own towels, linen and eating equipment and utensils dedicated to them and cleaning these should be separate to the household. Disposable utensils, cups and plates is a good idea.

10. Clean surfaces daily with disinfectant or bleach especially bedroom and bathroom.

11. Laundry should have disinfectant added and at hotter temps.

12. Keep waste in sealable garbage bags.

13. Keep toothbrush away from other toothbrushes.

14. Keep contact with phone or email

 

Should the carer or other members of your house be isolated?

The short answer is that we don’t really know but realistically they should isolate as well or at least only go out for very short spells and stay away from people and also wear a mask.

 

Managing your health while sick and isolated

 

Equipment needed

Thermometer – preferable ear or skin not mouth, usual medications, anti-inflammatories such as aspirin or nurofen, paracetamol for pain, cough suppressant, asthma medications if asthmatic, decongestants for runny nose, hydration fluids, vitamins if you are prone to deficiencies or dehydration. emergency numbers for closest hospital

 

1. Appoint a single carer to do your errands and check on you

2. Check your temperature readily. Normal is 37. Above 38 is concerning especially if you cannot bring it down.

3. Watch for breathing problems, productive cough, chest pain, coughing blood or worsening fever.

4. All these suggest you are getting worse especially in the second week and you should go to hospital.

5. If you need to use asthma medications, try not to use nebulisers as they can mist the virus into the air. It is better to use spacers. Oral steroid can weaken your immune system so if you think you need them you really should be in hospital.

6. As long as you are not allergic to them Aspirin, nurofen, paracetamol will all help fevers and pain. Don’t mix aspirin and nurofen as they are similar class medications. But paracetamol can be taken with the other 2 individually as long as you don’t exceed the recommended doses for each one. Do not have these on empty stomach.