COVID-19 information for Aboriginal communities
Information for Aboriginal people and communities on COVID-19 to help keep you and your community safe.
Simple steps to protect yourself
Speak to your doctor before you get sick
Understand what test to do when you feel unwell
Check if you're eligible for antivirals
Stay up to date with your vaccinations
Protecting our mob from COVID-19
The best way you and your family can stay well and keep doing the things you love is to:
- Stay home if you’re unwell and until your symptoms have gone.
- Stay up to date with your vaccinations.
- Get together outdoors or in well-ventilated indoor spaces.
- Consider wearing a face mask in crowded, indoor places.
- Consider doing a rapid antigen test (RAT) before visiting others.
- Continue to attend any medical appointments you may have.
- Have a yarn with your GP, pharmacist, Aboriginal Medical Service or Aboriginal Health Worker now so you understand your options if you test positive, including whether they recommend you have antiviral medicine, what test you should get if you get sick and if you need a pathology form for the test.
By taking these steps, you can help keep you and your loved ones safe.
Vaccinations for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
Visit a Vaccine Clinic, your local GP, pharmacy, or Aboriginal Medical Service to receive a vaccine.
Booster doses are recommended for anyone 16 years and over. You can get a booster dose 3 months after your second vaccination (or 3 months after a confirmed COVID-19 infection).
Everyone aged 50 years and over is strongly recommended to get an additional COVID-19 booster vaccine (second booster) 3 months after your first booster dose to help keep your immunity strong. People aged 30 and over can also get an additional booster.
Help with vaccination:
- You can SMS “Hey EVA” to 0481 611 382 if you need support to get a vaccine. If you have any questions about the COVID-19 vaccines, have a yarn with your GP, pharmacist, Aboriginal Medical Service or Aboriginal Health Worker.
Getting tested for COVID-19
Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Pacific Islander people aged 35 and over are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
It’s important you speak to your doctor now about what test you should get if you get sick and if you need a pathology form for the test.
If this isn’t possible and you already have symptoms of COVID-19, get a PCR (nose and throat swab) test immediately as these tests are more accurate. You can find a free testing clinic near you by using our testing clinics finder tool.
If you can’t get a PCR test result quickly, do a rapid antigen test (if you have one) while you wait for the PCR test result.
After you’ve been tested, NSW Health recommends that you stay home while you have symptoms, even if you get a negative COVID-19 test, so you don’t infect other people.
If you test positive to COVID-19
If your test is positive, you may be infectious for up to 10 days, but you are most infectious in the two days just before your symptoms start, and while you have acute symptoms (runny nose, sore throat, cough and fever).
People you live with or spend a lot of time indoors with are at greatest risk of catching COVID-19 from you.
While it is not mandatory to self-isolate if you test positive to COVID-19, it is recommended that you stay at home and take steps to protect others by:
- staying home until your acute symptoms (runny nose, sore throat, cough, fever) have stopped
- wearing a mask when indoors and on public transport if you must leave the house
- avoiding large gatherings and indoor crowded places
- avoiding visiting people at high risk of severe illness, anyone in hospital, or an aged or disability care facility at least 7 days.
- talking to your employer about when you should return to the workplace. If you work in a high-risk setting such as health, disability and aged care, you should only return after 7 days, subject to your employer’s work, health and safety assessment, and if you have no symptoms.
- registering a positive rapid antigen test with Service NSW (if you test positive on a rapid antigen test). Voluntarily registering your result helps you access medical support from NSW Health, including COVID-19 antiviral medicines if you are eligible, and helps NSW Health respond to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 antiviral medicines
Antiviral medicines target the virus that causes COVID-19, to help stop it from infecting healthy cells in your body and multiplying. This means you are less likely to get very sick and go to hospital.
Antivirals work best if they are taken within 5 days from the start of COVID-19 symptoms.
If you get COVID-19 you might be able to get antiviral medicines. Talk to your doctor or Aboriginal Health Worker now about antiviral medication so you can ask questions and find out if you can take these medicines if you do get COVID-19.
If you are eligible for antiviral medicines, it is important to get tested for COVID-19 as soon as you develop symptoms.
If you can't speak to your doctor or Aboriginal Health Worker, or contact healthdirect on 1800 022 222.
If you have had close contact with someone who has COVID-19
If you have had close contact with someone who has COVID-19, you are at increased risk of getting COVID-19. There are simple steps you can take to reduce the risk to others:
- Monitor for symptoms. If you get sick, get tested and stay home.
- Avoid visiting high-risk settings such as a hospital, aged or disability care facilities, or visiting anyone at high risk of severe illness for at least seven days, and then ensure you have a negative rapid antigen test before visiting.
- Wear a mask when indoors and on public transport.
- Regular rapid antigen testing (RAT) may help identify the infection early – this is particularly important if you are in contact with people at high risk of severe illness.
Looking after your mental health and wellbeing
COVID-19 can impact you, your family and friends in different ways.
It’s important to keep looking after yourself and others, and build these simple actions into each day:
- Connect with friends and family
- Maintain connection with culture
- Stick to a daily routine or create a new one
- Move your body as much as you can
- Eat a range of healthy foods.
If you or someone you know needs help, there is always support available. Speak with someone you trust or reach out to support services available in NSW. There are also wellbeing resources and tips available.