Novel coronavirus response

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

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

Key points:

  • COVID-19 is a notifiable disease in Tasmania under the Public Health Act 1997.
  • If you suspect a patient may have coronavirus, contact Tasmania’s Public Health Services on 1800 671 738 immediately for advice on testing and management.
  • Use contact and droplet precautions when providing routine care to patients who may have coronavirus.

Please see the Tasmanian Department of Health website and the Australian Government Department of Health website for more information.

Key points for members of the public

  • Everyone should practise respiratory and hand hygiene and cough etiquette to protect against infections: wash your hands, cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing, and avoid sick people.
  • If you are well, you do not need to wear a face mask.
  • If you become unwell and suspect you may have symptoms of the coronavirus, you must seek medical attention. Ring ahead to make your doctor aware of your symptoms and your travel history.
  • Call 000 if it’s an emergency.
  • Some people who have travelled to certain countries recently or had close contact with a confirmed case need to isolate themselves for a period of time. More information is available on the Australian Government Department of Health website.

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 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 and pharmacy staff, as well as patients 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

A maximum of 50 masks will be sent to requesting practices and pharmacies in the first instance to ensure they go where they are most needed, given they are drawn from the national emergency supply. Practices and pharmacies will be able to request additional masks as the need arises.

In considering whether your workplace needs face masks, please think about any existing supply of masks you may have.

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

Environmental cleaning

The Australian Government has developed interim advice on non-inpatient care of persons with suspected or confirmed coronavirus, which includes guidance on personal protection equipment (PPE) and environmental cleaning.