Coronavirus (COVID-19) response

New Tasmanian HealthPathways specifically designed to support the local COVID-19 response are now live. See below for more information.

This page aims to link Tasmanian health professionals with the latest information on management of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Australia.

If you are a community member, please go to this page which has information tailored for consumers rather than health professionals.

The response is being coordinated by the Australian Government Department of Health, supported by public health units in state health departments around the country.

Tasmania’s Public Health Services and Primary Health Tasmania are working together to keep local health professionals up to date in changing circumstances.

This is a rapidly evolving situation. Health professionals should visit the Australian Government Department of Health and Tasmanian Department of Health websites for up-to-date information.

Key points for health professionals

COVID-19 is a notifiable disease in Tasmania under the Public Health Act 1997.

Health professionals are encouraged to be alert to the possibility of COVID-19 in patients who are showing certain symptoms and have recently travelled overseas or had close contact with a confirmed case.

Visit the Tasmanian HealthPathways for current advice on testing and management (see below).

Health professionals should use contact and droplet precautions when providing routine care to patients who may have COVID-19.

Tasmanian HealthPathways

Tasmanian HealthPathways has developed two new pathways to assist with response to the current COVID-19 outbreak.

The COVID-19 Pathway includes information relevant to GPs on:

  • assessing suspected cases
  • infection control
  • infection management
  • how to keep the patient, practitioner, and wider community safe.

The Pandemic Respiratory Illness Pathway includes information relevant to GPs on:

  • infection prevention and control
  • preparing a pandemic plan, including staff and patient considerations and environmental considerations.

Two other Pathways – one supporting practice preparation, and the other about COVID-19 requests – are now also live.

The COVID-19 Requests Pathway includes information about:

  • how to make an urgent assessment
  • swab testing
  • how to make a notification.

The COVID-19 Practice Preparation Pathway includes information about:

  • practice set-up
  • infection control
  • staff behaviours and health
  • care delivery.

Tasmanian HealthPathways will be maintaining an updated COVID-19 ‘Health Alert’ with current local, national and international recommendations and information.

If you are a health professional and haven’t used Tasmanian HealthPathways before, email providersupport@primaryhealthtas.com.au for the user name and password.

You can also download a fact sheet on how to use the COVID-19 Tasmanian HealthPathways here, and watch a short video tutorial here.

Whole-of-population telehealth expansion

The Australian Government has announced whole-of-population telehealth for patients, general practice, primary care and other medical services to support the response to COVID-19.

From 30 March 2020, telehealth (video-conference) and phone consultation items are available to all Australians. This is stage four of the COVID-19 response and is expected to be in place until 30 September 2020.

You can find out more about the stage four expansion here, and download an overarching fact sheet explaining the changes here.

Surgical masks

The Australian Government has released a number of single-use surgical masks from the national medical stockpile. They are being distributed by PHNs, including Primary Health Tasmania, to general practices and community pharmacies with an identified need.

Note that these are surgical face masks, not P2/N25 masks. They are for use by GPs, practice staff, pharmacists, pharmacy staff and patients ONLY where there is concern about possible coronavirus infection. They should not be given or sold to patients more broadly.

These masks are available to general practices and pharmacies on request. To request a supply, or if you have any questions, please email providersupport@primaryhealthtas.com.au

The Australian Government has prepared a fact sheet with information for both health professionals and community members on the use of face masks.