COVID-19 prevention and health advice

How can I protect myself from contracting COVID-19?

All staff, including staff working directly with students, can protect themselves against the risk of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) by paying attention to good hand and respiratory hygiene. In particular this includes washing your hands regularly.

The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services currently advises that face masks are not recommended for use by members of the public for the prevention of infections like the novel coronavirus.

Practising good hand and sneeze/cough hygiene is the best defence against most viruses. You should:

  • wash your hands often with soap and water or by using alcohol-based hand rub before including after eating as well as after attending the toilet
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who has fever and a cough
  • When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – throw tissue away immediately and wash hands

Based on current health advice, the University has arranged for hand sanitiser to be available throughout the University’s buildings and provided to front line service areas.

Physical distancing is an effective measure to help reduce the potential for viral transmission. The Australian Government recommends maintaining a distance of at least 1.5 metres between each person to reduce the potential for viral transmission.

It is important that everyone does their part to limit spread of COVID-19. This will help protect vulnerable people in our La Trobe community and within the broader community, helping to reduce the burden on our hospitals.

What should I do if a student or staff member feels unwell or is seeking medical assistance?

If a student or staff member reports that they are unwell and suspects they may have symptoms of coronavirus they should seek medical attention.Ask them to call the dedicated hotline on 1800 675 398. Please keep Triple Zero (000) for emergencies only.

If the person requires urgent medical help:

  • call 000 and ask for an ambulance, then dial university security on 2222 (this will allow security staff to also assist and to help direct the ambulance)
  • tell the ambulance officers that the person is presenting with symptoms that may be the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • Let the Occupational Health and Safety team know about your interaction with the person

What are the symptoms of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)?

Symptoms include (but are not limited to) fever, cough, sore throat, fatigue and shortness of breath.

What if I am sick now or develop symptoms within 14 days of being in an impacted country?

If you develop mild symptoms:

  • isolate yourself from other people
  • call the dedicated hotline on 1800 675 398. Please keep Triple Zero (000) for emergencies only
  • when you get to the doctor’s clinic or hospital, tell them again that you may have novel coronavirus infection.

If you have serious symptoms such as shortness of breath:

  • call 000 and ask for an ambulance (this will work even if you don’t have phone credit)
  • tell the ambulance officers that you may have novel coronavirus infection.

Your doctor will test you for COVID-19 and provide advice on management. You will also be contacted by Public Health officers who will provide you with more information.

La Trobe provides free confidential counselling support for all La Trobe students and staff can access EAP support [internal link].

What if I have been in close contact with someone who has COVID19?

If you have been informed by Public Health authorities that you are a close contact of a confirmed case of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), please follow the specific instructions you have been given by health authorities and monitor your health for any symptoms..

If you have not developed symptoms you must isolate yourself at your home/residence for 14 days and follow the health advice of the Department of Health.

You cannot attend La Trobe University until Public Health informs you that it is safe for you to do so.

Staff unable to come to work because of this situation should contact their supervisor to discuss work arrangements during this period.

Should I travel if I am sick?

No. If you are unwell, it is recommended that you do not travel. Travelling when unwell poses a safety risk for you and in the current environment it also increases your chance of being quarantined. Many countries are screening passengers in airports for signs of fever or other symptoms such as a cough or a runny nose. If you are exhibiting these symptoms or show other signs of being unwell, you may be quarantined.

What if I feel unwell with cold-like symptoms?

To alleviate anxiety among our La Trobe community, if you are experiencing any cold-like symptoms, please stay home and discuss arrangements, e.g. working from home or taking sick leave, with your manager (if you are a staff member); or discuss options such as studying from home with your subject or course coordinator (if you are a student). Continue to monitor your health until symptoms subside.

DHHS have prepared a self-assessment for risk of coronavirus flowchart which may be helpful for you to refer to.