COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Factsheet for Patients and Visitors
What is Coronavirus/COVID-19?
This coronavirus, known as COVID-19, causes illness of varying severity spanning common cold symptoms through to more serious respiratory illness.
Some people may barely notice they are sick at all while some may become very ill, very quickly. At present, those in Queensland who are confirmed cases of COVID-19 are being treated in hospital, which may be as ‘virtual patients’, or as more ‘traditional’ admissions to our hospitals.
Self-quarantine and self-isolation requirements are in place for some overseas and interstate travellers or those who may have been in close contact with a confirmed case, usually for a period of 14 days.
How is this Coronavirus spread?
The coronavirus is most likely to spread from person-to-person through:
- direct close contact with a person while they are infectious
- close contact with a person with a confirmed infection who coughs or sneezes, or
- touching objects or surfaces (such as door handles or tables) contaminated from a cough or sneeze from a person with a confirmed infection, and then touching your mouth or face.
Most infections are only transmitted by people when they have symptoms, but can be transmitted for the 48 hours prior to symptoms developing. Symptoms can include fever, a cough, sore throat, shortness of breath or loss of taste or smell.
What should I do if I suspect I have COVID-19?
Those who suspect they might have COVID-19 should present for testing. Symptoms include:
- a fever or history of fever (e.g. night sweats, chills)
- acute respiratory infection (e.g. cough, shortness of breath, sore throat)
- loss of smell or taste
- or more rarely: fatigue, runny nose, muscle pain, joint pain, diarrhoea, nausea/vomiting and loss of appetite.
Tests are available at Commonwealth Respiratory Clinics, Queensland Health Fever Clinics or at private laboratory collection centres upon referral by your GP.
You will be given a mask on arrival at testing locations.
Who is at risk of COVID-19?
Everyone should take steps to keep themselves and others safe, to prevent the spread of COVID-19. However, those most at risk of serious infection include:
- people with compromised immune systems (e.g. cancer)
- elderly people
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
- people with diagnosed chronic medical conditions
- people in group residential settings
- people in detention facilities.
Am I safe attending Metro North facilities?
Metro North Hospital and Health Service is well-prepared to handle COVID-19 across our facilities. Patient and visitor safety is paramount.
Anyone being treated for COVID-19 within a healthcare facility will be in a designated area, with rigorous safety protocols observed.
Can I still visit Metro North facilities to see a loved one?
In line with the Chief Health Officer’s Direction, as of 1 am, Friday 25 September, visitors are now allowed at this facility. Hospital patients can have two visitors at any one time, for any length of time, within visiting hours. More than two visitors can be allowed to provide end-of-life support to a patient. Please contact the Nurse Unit Manager of the facility and ward you wish to visit to arrange this. In addition, some local arrangements for visitors may be in place.
You can visit a patient with one other person, for example if:
- You are providing general care and support to a patient
- You are supporting a child and you are the child’s parent, guardian or carer
- You are visiting a person with a disability and you are the person’s carer or a support person
- You are supporting someone who needs to go to the emergency department or an outpatient care appointment
- You are supporting someone who is pregnant, in labour or visiting after birth
You can visit with more than one other person if:
- You are providing end-of-life support for a patient.
You cannot visit (unless you are a patient) if:
- You have been diagnosed with COVID-19
- You have returned from overseas in the last 14 days
- You have been asked to self-quarantine
- You have had contact with a person with COVID-19 in the last 14 days
- You have a fever (37.5 degrees or more) or a cough, runny nose, sore throat or breathing difficulties.
It is recommended that you contact the hospital directly to confirm their visitation rules and visiting hours, before leaving home.
We encourage virtual visits for our patients. Virtual visits are a great way to stay connected to your loved ones and support them during their stay in our facilities The information on our virtual visits page will help get you set up to make virtual visits.
You can find more information about this on the relevant facility visitor information page:
Should I reschedule my outpatient appointment?
You do not need to reschedule your outpatient appointment or elective surgery unless you have been contacted to do so.
Contact will be made directly with anyone who may need to move an appointment or to amend your appointment to a ‘virtual appointment’.
Where should I go for more information?
The Queensland Health website remains a central source of information for all members of the public. Information is continually updated on the QLD Health Coronavirus site.
The Federal Government website also contains helpful information for a range of groups on their Department of Health COVID-19 resources site.