COVID-19: Wondering What Self Isolation Entails? Here's What You Need To Know • Glam Adelaide

COVID-19: Wondering What Self Isolation Entails? Here’s What You Need To Know

Here are the government recommendations for travellers returning to Australia, those who have contracted COVID-19, or anyone else who’s been advised to self-isolate.

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This week the Australian government upgraded travel requirements for those returning to Australia, enforcing a new 14 day self isolation period, no matter where you’re returning from. With many people asking us, what that actually entailed, we’ve got the official run down on what it all means. The below requirements are for anyone returning to Australia from overseas, contacts of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) or people who have been advised to self-isolate.

This information should be read in conjunction with the ‘What you need to know’ and ‘Isolation guidance’ information sheets on the Australian Department of Health Coronavirus (COVID-19) page(opens in a new window).

The below article covers these topics:

  • Who Needs to Isolate for 14 days?
  • How to Isolate
  • Social Distancing – keeping a safe distance away from others
  • Using Public Transport
  • Monitor Symptoms 
  • What Do I Do If I Get Sick?
  • How Can I Prevent the Spread of Coronavirus? 
  • Going Outside
  • Advice for Others Living With You 
  • Cleaning 
  • Food Shopping 
  • How to Access Medicines
  • Taking Care of Your Health and Wellbeing
  • Mental Health Support
  • Once the Isolation Period Is Over
  • Food Shopping 
  • Translated Information
  • Further Information

This information should be read in conjunction with the ‘What you need to know’ and ‘Isolation guidance’ information sheets on the Australian Department of Health Coronavirus (COVID-19) page(opens in a new window)

Who Needs to Isolate for 14 Days?

People who:

  • have arrived from overseas travel from any country (as of midnight Sunday 15 March 2020)
  • have had had close contact with a person with COVID-19
  • are unwell with symptoms of COVID-19

Healthcare workers who have worn appropriate PPE are not considered close contacts.

How to Isolate

During the 14 days of isolation you must stay at home in a dedicated room (or your hotel room) and do not leave unless you need to seek medical care.

If you do not isolate yourself correctly, the people around you are more likely to get COVID-19. As a result, they may also need to isolate.

  •  If you must leave home, such as to seek medical care, wear a surgical mask. If you don’t have a mask, take care to not cough or sneeze on others. If you don’t have a mask, cover your coughs and sneezes and wash or sanitise your hands.
  • Don’t go to public places including work, school, childcare, university, shopping centres or any public, social, or religious gatherings.
  • Do not go shopping or to restaurants – shop online or have family or friends deliver what you need to your door.  
  • Do not have visitors to your home. Only people who usually live with you should be in the home – they must not sleep or be in the same room as you.   

Living with other people:

  • If you are in your own home, avoid unnecessary contact with other people living with you. They do not need to self-isolate unless they become unwell.
  • You should stay in your own room and use a dedicated bathroom and toilet for your personal use only (if possible). 
  • Avoid sharing towels, toiletries or other household items with others in your house. 
  • Wash clothes and bed linen in a separate load, using a hot wash cycle. Hang clothes out to dry, or use a machine dryer.  
  • Avoid using the kitchen when other people are in the room and take your meals back to your room to eat. 
  • Make sure you have separate items like plates and cutlery. Wash dishes using the dishwasher or wash them well in hot soapy water.
  • All of frequently touched items (eg. remotes, door knobs, light switches, benches) should be cleaned regularly with a detergent or disinfectant. Use disposable cleaning cloths such as paper towel or disposable wipes or cloths.
  • Maintain a 1.5 metre distance away from other people if you need to briefly move through shared living spaces in your home.
  • If there are times when you cannot avoid being in the same room as another person, limit the time you are together (less than 15 minutes) and wear a mask if you have one. If you don’t have a mask cover your coughs and sneezes with tissues, dispose of them in the bin in your room and wash or sanitise your hands.  

If you are in a hotel:

  • If you are in a hotel, avoid contact with other guests or staff. Use room service for food, and wear a mask when it is delivered, or ask for your meal to be left outside the door. You can then bring your meal inside after the delivery person has left.
  • Use your own pen to sign for meals from delivery services or hotel room service.

Social Distancing – keeping a safe distance away from others

Maintain a 1.5 metre distance away from other people if you need to briefly move through shared living spaces in your home.

If there are times when you cannot avoid being in the same room as another person, limit the time you are together (less than 15 minutes) and wear a mask if you have one. If you don’t have a mask cover your coughs and sneezes with tissues, dispose of them in the bin in your room and wash or sanitise your hands.

Using Public Transport

You should not be travelling when you are in isolation as you will be staying at home.

When travelling to your home or to your hotel to start isolation you must wear a surgical mask. Use private transport, such as a car, to minimise exposure to others. Use private transport, such as a car, to minimise exposure to others, especially if you do not have a mask. 

However, if you must use a bus, train, uber or taxi to get home or seek medical care, ensure you wear a mask (if you have one). Keep at least 1.5 metres away from other people. For example, sit in the back seat, or sit away from others on the bus or train.

For more information see the precautions outlined in the Coronavirus (COVID-19) information for drivers and passengers using public transport(opens in a new window).

Monitor Symptoms 

When in isolation, monitor yourself for symptoms including fever, cough or shortness of breath. Other early symptoms may include chills, body aches, sore throat, runny nose, diarrhoea, fatigue and muscle pain.

What Do I Do if I Get Sick?

Call a doctor or hospital and tell them that you are in isolation for coronavirus (COVID-19) and that you are unwell. 

Follow the specific instructions from the doctor or hospital when seeking medical care.

If you have serious symptoms such as difficulty breathing call 000, ask for an ambulance – tell them you are in isolation because of COVID-19.

How Can I Prevent the Spread of Coronavirus? 

Practising good hand hygiene and sneeze/cough hygiene is a good defence against many viruses. You should: 

  • wash your hands frequently with soap and water, before and after eating, and after going to the toilet
  • cover your cough and sneeze, dispose of tissues into a bin, and wash your hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitiser
  • avoid contact with others (touching, kissing, hugging, and other intimate contact).
  • keep a distance of 1.5 metres from other people.

Going Outside

If you live in a private house, it is safe for you to go into your garden or courtyard alone. Wear a mask if you have one and/or practice cough etiquette if you need to move through common areas of the house such as the kitchen.

If you live in an apartment, hotel or shared lodgings, you should avoid common areas and do not go to public parks or gardens.

While you are in isolation in your room, keep your door closed. You can open your window for fresh air.

Advice for Others Living With You 

Others who live with you are not required to be isolated unless they meet one of the isolation criteria outlined above. 

However, if they develop symptoms and are suspected to have COVID-19, they will be classified as close contacts and will then need to be isolated.

Cleaning

To minimise the spread of any germs, you should regularly clean surfaces that are frequently touched, such as door handles, light switches, kitchen and bathroom areas. 

Clean with household detergent (liquid or wipes) and if available, disinfectant (e.g. sodium hypochlorite / bleach based products).

Dispose of your waste items, such as tissues and other disposable items into a plastic bag in your room. When the bag is almost full, tie it off before it goes outside your room. This bag should then go into the bin ready for disposal and not for recycling.

Food Shopping

Do not go shopping while you are in isolation. Arrange for food and essential items to be dropped off at your door by family or friends, or use online shopping services offered by many supermarkets. Ensure you ask for items/food to be delivered in disposable bags and left at your door.

Other options may include ordering food from restaurants or services that can provide home delivery. 

Do not interact face-to-face with people delivering your items or food. To prevent exposing other people, make sure you wear a mask when receiving a delivery and maintain a 1.5 metre distance, or have them left at your door.

How to Access Medicines

If you need medicines (including prescription medicines), ask a family member or friend (who is not in isolation) to deliver them to your home. 

Some pharmacies offer a home delivery service. To prevent exposing other people, make sure you wear a mask when receiving a delivery and maintain a 1.5 metre distance, or have them left at your door.

Taking Care of Your Health and Wellbeing

Being in isolation can be stressful and/or boring. Some suggestions to take care of your health and wellbeing include:

  • Keep in touch with family members and friends via telephone, email or social media.
  • Reassure young children using age-appropriate language.
  • Where possible, keep up normal daily routines that you can do while in your room, such as eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of fluids and in-room exercise if you do not have a backyard.
  • If you don’t have a backyard, consider finding an exercise or yoga video online (e.g. YouTube).
  • Arrange to work from home if this option is available to you.
  • Ask your child’s school to supply assignments or homework by post or e-mail.
  • Do things that help you relax and use isolation as an opportunity to do activities you don’t usually have time for.

Mental Health Support

Contact one of the services below for support, or talk to your general practitioner (GP).

  • Lifeline Australia: 13 11 14
    A crisis support service that provides short term support at any time for people who are having difficulty coping or staying safe.
  •  Kids Helpline: 1800 551800
    A free, private and confidential 24/7 phone and online counselling service for young people aged 5 to 25 years.
  •  See the SA Health Mental Health and COVID-19 Fact Sheet (PDF 321KB) for more information and support on the mental health impacts of COVID-19 for people in home isolation. 

Once the Isolation Period Is Over

Once you have self-isolated for 14 days and are symptom free, you no longer need to self-isolate. You do not need to get a clearance certificate.

Translated Information

Further Information 

Call the National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

If you require translating or interpreting services, call 131 450.

If you have concerns about your health, speak to your doctor and advise you are in isolation.

In an emergency, call Triple Zero (000).

Australian Government Department of Health:

SA Health information and resources                       

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