There is an outbreak of a disease caused by a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans. The disease caused by this coronavirus is called ‘COVID-19’. The outbreak started in Hubei Province in China in December 2019 and has spread to a number of other countries outside China.
COVID-19 is a notifiable condition under the ACT Public Health Act 1997. Confirmed cases of COVID-19 must be reported to the Communicable Disease Control (CDC) Section as soon as practicable by calling (02) 5124 9213 during business hours or (02) 9962 4155 after hours.
Health professionals returning from overseas travel
As per the updated Australian Government self-quarantine advice for all returned travellers from overseas, staff who have returned from any overseas country on or after 16 March 2020 must self-quarantine at home for 14 days after leaving an overseas country. If you think this applies to you, please discuss this with your employer.
Testing patients who meet the suspect case definition:
- Travellers from overseas or from cruise ships with onset of fever (≥38°C) or history of fever OR acute respiratory infection within 14 days of return.
- Close contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases with onset of fever (≥38°C) or history of fever OR acute respiratory infection within 14 days of last contact.
- Healthcare or aged care workers with recent onset of fever (≥38°C) or history of fever OR acute respiratory infection, irrespective of travel or contact history. This includes anyone who works in a healthcare or aged care setting and has direct patient contact.
- Patients who are being hospitalised with acute respiratory infection OR unexplained fever (≥38°C) (e.g. not associated with a urinary tract infection), at the discretion of the treating clinician.
- Patients with unexplained fever (≥38°C) or history of fever OR acute respiratory infection who live/work in other high risk settings, such as aged care facilities, residential care facilities, boarding schools, military operational settings, correctional facilities, and detention centres.
- Patients with fever (≥38°C) or history of fever OR acute respiratory infection who have reported links to settings where COVID-19 outbreaks have occurred, in discussion with CDC.
For all the above, history of fever includes, for example, night sweats or chills. Acute respiratory infection includes, for example, shortness of breath, cough or sore throat.
People without symptoms should not be tested.