Latest news: novel coronavirus
In December 2019, an outbreak of a novel coronavirus (COVID-19), began in Wuhan City, Hubei Province.
The latest information indicates evidence of human-to-human transmission. Symptoms include fever, difficulty breathing and non-specific upper respiratory tract infection symptoms such as cough and sore throat. No vaccine or specific treatment is currently available but medical care can treat most of the symptoms.
Clinicians should be on alert for these symptoms in anyone who has recently travelled to mainland China and should report suspected cases to the Metro North Public Health Unit on 07 3624 1111 during business hours and to the Public Health Physician (on call after hours) on 07 3646 1699.
While transmission dynamics have yet to be determined, a cautious approach to infection control is recommended including standard, contact and airborne precautions and asking people suspected of having the infection to wear a surgical mask.
Novel coronavirus resources for health professionals
Coronavirus page now live on HealthPathways
A dedicated coronavirus HealthPathways page has been created, offering guidance for general practices on case identification, recommendations for management and links to relevant resources all in one place.
- Access the coronavirus HealthPathways page at brisbanenorth.communityhealthpathways.org.
- For login details contact the PHN on 07 3630 7300.
Video: What GPs need to know
Dr Jeannette Young, Chief Health Officer Queensland Health and Dr Dilip Dhupelia, President AMA Queensland, provide an update on the current situation including answers to GPs’ most pressing questions in this joint video.
- Watch the video on the Queensland Health website at www.health.qld.gov.au.
GP management flowchart for novel coronavirus
This Queensland Health flow chart is designed to assist Queensland GPs with the assessment and management of patients presenting to GP practices with suspected novel coronavirus.
- Download the flowchart at www.health.qld.gov.au.
Specimen collection information
Pathology providers QML and Sullivan Nicolaides have published information on the collection centres in the region that have the capacity to test for coronavirus.
Please note, public health approval is no longer required to request testing, however in very high-risk patients the relevant public health unit still requests early clinical notification of a suspect case even prior to test results being available.
Additionally, testing is also available at all five public hospitals in the North Brisbane and Moreton Bay region.
- QML collection centres can be found at www.qml.com.au.
Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology collection centres can be found at www.snp.com.au.
Access to surgical masks for general practice and pharmacies
The Department of Health is providing access to a limited stockpile of surgical masks for general practices and community pharmacies. As supplies are limited, PHNs have been given the role of distributing surgical masks to practices and community pharmacies with a demonstrated need, for example:
- where there is no local supply available commercially
- where practices or pharmacies have a population which may be more likely to have been exposed to the novel coronavirus
- where practices or pharmacies have an unusual number of patients presenting with respiratory symptoms.
Surgical masks should be used for patients who present to practices or pharmacies with suspected novel coronavirus and for staff who are at risk of exposure, and are not for resale or general use.
Brisbane North PHN have been allocated a limited supply to distribute to practices or pharmacies. If your practice or pharmacy requires surgical masks, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Further information for health professionals
- the Department of Health will provide regular updates as more information on this situation becomes available
- Queensland Health has launched a web page with information for both healthcare workers and the general public
- download a poster (504KB - PDF) for your practice or access the full Queensland Health asset library here
- for additional information on novel coronavirus visit the World Health Organization website.
Brisbane North PHN will continue to provide the latest information on the novel coronavirus. For further information, please contact your Primary Care Liaison Officer on 07 3630 7300 or email email@example.com.