2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
12 Mar 2020
Recently, the community has been talking a lot about 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19). While you may be worried and this health risk may pose serious concerns, it’s important that we stay informed with accurate information. We’ve already started making plans should we need to take action in response to the changing landscape around COVID-19.
As our LGBTI community festival season winds down, it’s common for people to come back from events feeling tired and/or run down. Sometimes this even results in cold and flu symptoms. We’re encouraging our communities to take some additional precautions to look after their health as well as the wellbeing of those around them.
- If you’re feeling unwell, take time off from work or study. Allow yourself time to rest and recover.
- If you’re seriously unwell, contact your local GP. To be safe, call first. This allows them to ask you some questions and prepare an appropriate space to receive you. They may refer you directly to a service that can better look after you.
- Basic hygiene is important.
- Be sure to wash your hands frequently – with soap and water for at least 20 seconds each time. Handwashing plays an important role in disease control, but so many people don't get it quite right. Check out this CDC clip to see if you're on top of it — Handwashing 101
- Avoid touching your mouth or face wherever possible.
- Cover your nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing with a tissue or into a bent elbow (Throw away the tissue immediately, after use).
- Stay one metre away from people coughing or sneezing.
- Stay informed. There is a lot of misinformation out there. We’ve even heard about some reports of racist and discriminatory behaviour related to COVID-19.
- Check in on your friends, colleagues, and chosen family. If someone is feeling unwell, be sure to share this information with them.
- Be sure you have sufficient supplies of any medications you take. You may experience some delays in accessing medications purchased online or overseas. However, we are not encouraging people to stockpile medications as this may cause unnecessary shortages.
We know that some communities are feeling particular vulnerable. We've released a joint statement with Living Positive Victoria and Positive Women Victoria for people living with HIV.
We are working with the Department of Health to ensure we respond to this health risk appropriately. Active planning is underway to ensure we take appropriate steps to limit any impact this outbreak may have on the services we offer.
Reliable information is important as we continue to respond to COVID-19. You can best stay up to date via the Victorian Department of Health website. It’s frequently updated with information and resources.
The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) have released a sheet of ten useful tips for how you can reduce your risk of coronavirus.
As we have for over 35 years, we will continue to work together to ensure the health and wellbeing of our communities.