Novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

Health professionals can keep up to date with the latest information on the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) via the NSW Health website, and are strongly encouraged by NSW Health to check the website daily. These updates include:

For the latest national information on COVID-19, please visit the Department of Health website

The Department of Health has also developed a 30-minute online training module for health care workers in all settings. It covers the fundamentals of infection prevention and control for COVID-19. To register for the training, click here.

Access your local HealthPathways site for detailed information and resources on assessment and management, practice preparation, referrals, and impacts on local services. HealthPathways has also developed a video to help general practices prepare and respond to COVID-19. 

 ACT & Southern NSW HealthPathways   

Username: together

Password: forhealth

Illawarra Shoalhaven HealthPathways

Username: connected

Password: 2pathways

Surgical and P2 / N95 masks

Access to surgical mask and P2 / N95 is being is being facilitated by PHNs as outlined in the Department of Health Advice document Distribution of PPE through PHNs: Tranche 2, Surgical masks and P2/N95 respirators for general practice and community pharmacy.

To ensure equitable access, consideration is being given to service location, practice size, number of GPs, practices offering testing, the number of surgical masks in stock and the number of masks previously distributed. Additional allocation will be on a case-by-case basis for those who have a significant demonstrated need until stocks are depleted.

COORDINARE does not have access to additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). No further advice from the Department of Health has been received by COORDINARE on the provision of additional PPE to general practice, ACCHS, or community pharmacy.

Surgical masks

Surgical masks supplied by PHNs are intended to be provided to general practices, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) and, when no local commercial supply is available, community pharmacies:

  • for the protection of health professionals and practice / pharmacy staff in direct contact with people presenting with fever and / or respiratory symptoms including cough, sore throat and / or shortness of breath
  • for provision to people who are suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19, for the protection of other patients and staff, and for the protection of the public when the patient returns home.

There is no need for the general public or health workers to wear masks unless they are dealing with symptomatic patients.

As supplies are limited, PHNs have been given the role of distributing surgical masks to practices, ACCHS, and community pharmacies with demonstrated need.

Eligibility for general practice (including ACCHS):
  • where there is no local supply available commercially
  • where practices have a population which may be more likely to have been exposed to COVID-19
  • where practices have an unusual number of patients presenting with respiratory symptoms.
Eligibility for community pharmacies:
  • for use of their staff when there is no available commercial supply AND;
  • they have significant contact with people presenting with fever or respiratory symptoms.

Masks distributed through PHNs cannot be sold as commercial stock.

If you meet the eligibility requirements above, please complete this online form to request a box of masks.

P2 / N95 masks

P2 / N95 respirators are only required for aerosol generating procedures or where there is uncontrolled coughing. See the relevant factsheet.

PHNs are asked to conserve stocks of P2 / N95 respirators as far as possible.

Distribution of P2 / N95 respirators is limited to general practices (including ACCHS), who need to assess suspected COVID-19 cases because of the unavailability of nearby dedicated respiratory clinics or Emergency Departments (e.g. in some rural and remote communities).

If you are a general practice and meet this criteria for P2 / N95 masks, please complete this online form to request a box of masks.

Download this chart for advice on fitting P2 / N95 masks, and for the correct use of personal protective equipment, please see this resource.

The healthdirect website has some helpful information and tools for consumers / patients.

  • specific information on the new COVID-19, including symptoms, spread, rate of infection, diagnosis and treatment
  • healthdirect Symptom Checker provides guidance on the appropriate health care action, updated with information on COVID-19. Also available on the healthdirect app.

The following helplines are also available:

  • call the Novel Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080 for people with questions regarding prevention and the spread of COVID-19
  • call the healthdirect helpline on 1800 022 222 to speak to a registered nurse who can provide advice when someone is unsure what to do - whether to see a local GP, manage the condition at home, or go to an emergency department. Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Page last updated Thursday 26 March 2020 at 10am.