“What do I do if I think I have Covid?”

Stay at home, wear a mask, try to stay on your own and protect other people from being exposed to you if you can. Call your GP and book a telehealth consult.

You can tell your GP how you feel, what your symptoms are and how long you have felt unwell. Your GP will ask you questions and give you advice on what you should do, and how to get tested.

If you have access to rapid antigen testing, or “RAT”, it is simple and inexpensive and can be done at home. The government has provided subsidised RAT testing up to a certain number for certain groups. See the link here.  If you get a positive RAT test then immediately go and have a PCR test at a drive through testing clinic such as Claremont Show Grounds. There is a list of other sites near Floreat Medical here. If you have a positive PCR test then the Department of Health will be notified by the laboratory of your positive status.

Make a GP telehealth appointment to discuss your result with your GP.

Isolate while you are getting tested and waiting for your results. Use good hygiene. Wear a mask. Socially distance.

If you are positive for Covid-19 on the results of your PCR test then you must remain isolated at home until you have a clear negative PCR test (usually after 14 days). You may be feeling a-symptomatic (not showing usual symptoms at all) or mildly unwell, moderately unwell or severely unwell.

There are four levels of care:

  1. Self-care at home in isolation until you have a clear negative PCR test. You must give thought to:
    1. Monitoring your symptoms and know what to look for which may be deterioration. HealthDirect has a good description of mild, moderate and severe symptoms here;
    2. Isolation – Consider the following factors to determine whether isolation in the home is suitable:
      1. Food – can you order online and have delivery to the door?
      2. Medications – can you use eScripts or have someone pick up the medicines for you?
      3. Dependents – children, elderly, pets;
      4. Alcohol and/or drug addiction;
      5. Financial capacity;
      6. Safety at home.
    3. Protection for others in your household. If you are positive for Covid-19 then how is the family able to be protected?
      1. Do you have some PPE (gloves, masks, face shield etc);
      2. Exercise good hygiene (hand washing, alcohol disinfectant, coughing technique)Good airflow. Covid-19 spreads by particles in the air.
      3. Good airflow can reduce risk.

The RACGP have created a ‘A guide, action plan and symptom diary for patients’ here.

  1. If you are worried or deteriorate then contact your GP for a telehealth appointment and discuss GP Care in the Home. This entails daily phone calls from the clinic (or less often if you are stable) until your symptoms abate and you have a clear negative PCR test. The GP will assess you with consideration of the following:
    1. Are you fully immunised, when was your last vaccine given?
    2. Co-morbidities – are you taking medicine for any condition and what is that condition?
    3. Immunosuppressed – do you have a medical condition which causes you to be immunosuppressed and therefore less physically able to combat the virus?
    4. Age – Over 60yo is a risk factor
    5. BMI – Greater than 30 (or over 100kg) People who are living with obesity may be more likely to be diagnosed with Covid-19.
  1. If you deteriorate further your GP will arrange for transfer of your care from GP Care in the Home to Hospital in the Home. This is where a health professional (not your GP) visits you at home under the supervision of a care team in the hospital. In WA this may be someone like Calvary or Medibank Health Solutions. You may be supplied with a pulse oximeter (which measures your oxygen saturation and how well you are breathing), blood pressure machine and other medical equipment to help monitor remotely your vital signs and symptoms. Your symptoms are overseen in the hospital environment and the visiting health professional will manage you under the hospital care team instructions.
  2. If you deteriorate further then the hospital care team may have you transferred (possibly by ambulance) to an Emergency Department for admission and management of your symptoms in hospital until you are discharged back home with a discharge plan conveyed to your GP. You will then once again be under the care of your GP Care in the Home until you have a clear negative PCR test.

 

Some simple advice: