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COVID-19

AHCSA endorses the Australian public health position on COVID-19 vaccination

What causes COVID-19?

COVID-19 is the infection caused by a coronavirus called SARS CoV2 and is part of a large family of viruses which cause respiratory infections. SARS CoV-2 originated in China in 2019 and spread across the world including Australia in January 2020.  

How is the virus spread?

If you get a COVID-19 infection, there will be a lot of the virus in our nose and throat, which can be spread easily to other people by coughing, sneezing, sharing things like cups, smoking, singing or even talking.  

If we are physically close to someone who has COVID-19 (within a couple of metres), we can breathe the virus in. Not only this, but we can also catch the virus by touching objects that someone with COVID-19 has already touched, like a door handle or table, and then touching our face.  

How would I feel if I had COVID-19?

The symptoms of COVID-19 are different for everyone. Some of us only get a runny nose and other people get very sick with a lung infection and can even have to go to hospital and in some cases, may die from the virus. Some people are only sick for a day or two, and others are sick for a long time.

The common symptoms are:

  • Fever
  • Respiratory symptoms
    • Coughing
    • Sore throat
    • Shortness of breath
    • Runny or blocked nose
  • Headache
  • Muscle and joint aches and pains
  • Diarrhoea and vomiting
  • Loss of smell
  • Food might taste different
  • You may not feel hungry
  • Fatigue

How sick can we get from COVID-19?

Some people will only have a mild form of the virus and other people will get very sick and need to be in hospital. We are more likely to need to be in a hospital if we have chronic medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes, or are older than 50 years of age. 

If you feel very unwell, such as having chest pain or difficulty breathing, then call 000 for an ambulance. 

How can I stop the spread?

There are a lot of ways to reduce the spread of the virus, including:

  • Keeping physically apart (at least 1.5 metres away) from people who are not normally living with us 
  • Staying home if you are unwell, except to go and get tested for COVID-19 
  • Washing hands frequently with soap and water or hand sanitiser 
  • Coughing or sneezing into your elbow 
  • Getting vaccinated as soon as possible 
  • Wearing a face mask outside the home if you can’t keep 1.5 metres away from people, in all health care settings and on public transport 
  • Use the QR code check in system 
  • More information about protecting yourself and others from the spread of COVID-19 here. 

What is isolation and quarantine?

Isolation

If you are unwell, or waiting for the result of a COVID-19 test, then you will need to stay home and keep isolated from family and friends until a negative test is received.

If you test positive for COVID-19, you may have to stay in a hotel in Adelaide until you are no longer infectious with the virus, which will be at least 10 days.

Quarantine

If you are told by SA Health or SAPOL that you have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19, then you must quarantine by staying at home for 14 days.  

This might mean having friends drop off food and medicines to your doorstep. You will only be allowed out of the house to have your COVID-19 tests. 

If you cannot safely quarantine at home because your family is large, or you feel you cannot manage then there are other options for quarantine such as going into a hotel in Adelaide. 

Link to information about quarantine and isolation

Being in isolation or quarantine at home, or in a hotel by yourself for a long time, can be hard. Things like calling friends and family for a yarn, reading books, watching some television or doing some cooking can make you feel better.

What will happen if I am a close contact of someone with COVID-19?

If a person tests positive for COVID-19, SA Health does what is called ‘contact tracing’.  

The contact tracing team speak to the sick person to find out where they have been and who they spent time with when they would have been infectious.  

If you have been a close contact of a case, the contact tracing team will call you and tell you to go into quarantine and to get tested for COVID-19.  

The contact tracing team will then be in touch every day that you are in quarantine to make sure you are okay. 

You can also find out if you have been at a place where you may have been in contact with a person with COVID-19. 

These exposure sites are listed on the SA Health contact tracing page. 

This webpage also tells you how long you will need to quarantine and when you will need to get tested.  

If you need more information about what you are required to do, you can ring the COVID-19 Hotline on: 1800 253 787

What is the COVID-19 test and where can I get tested?

The test for COVID-19 is a swab. The swab goes at the back of the throat and then up the nose to find any virus that might be there. It can feel a bit uncomfortable but should not hurt.  

You will usually receive your results by text in a day or two. You need to stay isolated and away from other people until you get your test result. 

Sometimes, if the result is urgent, or it is very difficult for the person to isolate, or you are living remotely, a quick test may be possible. The result can be provided in one to two hours. 

Useful links for further information about the COVID-19 virus:

SA Health | Aboriginal communities COVID-19 advice

SA Health | Testing locations in South Australia 

Australian Government Department of Health | What you need to know about COVID-19