COVID-19 – Advice for travel to rural and remote Aboriginal towns and communities
Due to the current COVID-19 risk, NSW Health strongly recommends avoiding all travel to, from and between rural and remote Aboriginal communities across NSW.
Travel to provide essential services or on compassionate grounds may be appropriate for people from regions other than Greater Sydney.
Contact your local Public Health Unit on 1300 066 055 for advice on safe movement.
Visit NSW Government - Coronavirus (COVID-19) for information about COVID-19 symptoms, testing and physical distancing.
Staying COVID safe
Being COVID Safe is everyone’s responsibility, it is important to practice COVID safe behaviour wherever you go.
Some simple measures significantly reduce the risk of getting COVID-19 and of spreading it to others.
In the video below, Adam Goodes, dual ADL Brownlow medallist and 2014 Australian of the Year, talks about why he chose to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
[We asked Adam Goodes, dual ADL Brownlow medallist and 2014 Australian of the Year, why he chose to get the COVID-19 vaccine.]
Having my first injection today does give me a peace of mind that, you know, I am doing my part in helping our families and our communities.
[Did you think twice about whether you were going to receive the COVID-19 vaccine?]
to be honest, I have put a lot of thought into getting the COVID vaccination.
My obstetrician told us that my wife was able to get vaccinated to protect her and our baby.
That made it very clear to me that it was very safe. And it's something that not only I but all of us should really have a think about.
Understand the risks involved in contracting COVID-19.
[Why do you think it's important to get Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander peoples vaccinated?]
I think it's very important that all of us here in Australia should get vaccinated to protect our family and friends.
To my Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander brothers and sisters, it's just as important for us to know the risks of COVID-19, but more importantly, the benefits of being vaccinated and the benefits to our mob in all of us going out there and getting that jab.
[How does it feel to have your first shot?]
Now that i've had my first injection, being vaccinated is definitely something that i feel really proud about, not only to help protect myself and my family, but for me to do my part.
By getting vaccinated is helping us all move closer to getting back to normality.
I'm arming myself against COVID-19 to protect myself, my family and the community.
For more information, yarn to your healthcare worker or visit health.gov.au.
Getting tested as soon as you feel unwell is the best way to protect yourself and your community.
Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19, even mild symptoms, should get tested immediately and stay home until you get a negative test result.
To get tested, visit a COVID-19 testing clinic, call your doctor or Aboriginal Medical Service to ask for a test.
- It only takes one person to spread COVID-19 in the community.
- If you have just one symptom, no matter how mild, get tested – even if you've been tested before.
- Testing is safe – all staff wear protective gear and you will have a safe place to wait.
- Testing is free at a public testing clinic. You don’t need a Medicare card.
- Most people in NSW receive their test result within 24 hours.
In this video Dr Kelvin Kong talks about what happens when you get tested.
Everyone has done a great job keeping COVID-19 out of our communities.
One of the best ways to make sure we keep staying safe and easing restrictions in our daily lives is to get tested for COVID. Anytime you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms, you should get tested immediately - even if you've been tested before any time you have symptoms again you should get tested again. The symptoms of COVID can seem like a cold or the flu but you won't know unless you get tested.
COVID symptoms to watch out for are a fever, cough, sore or scratchy throat, shortness of breath, runny nose or loss of smell or taste. Even if you only have one symptom you should get tested. There are testing clinics all over NSW. To find your closest clinic go to nsw.gov.au or call your doctor or aboriginal medical service. Some testing clinics are also open on weekends so you don't have to wait to get tested.
You don't need to do anything to prepare for your test. On your way to get your COVID test it's a good idea to wear a mask to protect yourself and others around you, but if you don't have a mask handy that's OK, you should still go get tested. When you arrive at the testing location staff will ask about your symptoms and your health. This is to protect you and other visitors and also to make sure you are directed to the right place for care.
When you enter the testing clinic you may see that staff are wearing protective clothing and equipment. Staff are taking great care to make sure that you and other visitors are safe when you go for your COVID tests. To help keep everyone safe you'll be asked to wear a mask and to keep a safe distance from others of at least two big steps.
Getting a test is free quick and easy. Clinic staff will take a sample from inside your nose and/or your throat using a cotton tip swab. People often worry how awkward it feels. It's surprisingly OK and I'm pleased to show you how easy it is by showing you inside your nose. You can see here where the swab goes and the area which we sample. It is quick simple and safe.
During your test visit don't be afraid to ask if you need help with isolating in a busy house. If you need supplies of food or medication or if you are a carer for someone it's OK to ask for whatever you need to isolate safely whilst you wait for your result. After your test it's important you go straight home and don't stop anywhere in your way. Stay isolated from others until you get your result even if at home.
If you share your home with others you should separate from them as much as you can. Wear a mask when you're in the same room as another person and keep at least two big steps apart. While you wait for a result you can't have visitors and you can't leave home unless you need medical care or it’s an emergency.
We've improved our lab testing and most people in NSW receive their results within 24 hours. If your result is negative you'll get a text message to let you know. If your result is positive you'll get a phone call from your local public health unit - it may show up as an unknown call on your phone so you should answer any unknown calls until you have your result.
The health unit will ask you some questions about your recent movements and close contacts. The health unit won't share your answers with police or anyone else it will be kept confidential and only used for health reasons. Your cooperation at this point is really important to help keep our mob safe.
Remember getting tested for COVID-19 as soon as you feel even mildly unwell is the best way to keep COVID-19 out of our communities. Testing is simple, quick and free and it shouldn't hurt. Any personal information you provide will be kept confidential. Don't delay, get tested right away to keep our mob safe.
Provide your name and contact number every time you visit a business, venue or organisation. This helps protect your community from COVID-19 and makes it easier for contact tracers to get in touch with you if they need to. Most businesses in NSW will use the Service NSW QR code check in.
If you don’t have a phone there are other ways to check-in, just speak with the venue or business you are visiting.
Businesses are required to take your details for contact tracing. They are not allowed to use this information for anything else. Businesses must delete all check-in records after 28 days if not needed for contact tracing.
Practise good hygiene
By practising good hygiene you can stop the spread of COVID-19.
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or clean them with an alcohol-based hand rub/sanitiser.
- Cough and sneeze into your elbow or cover your nose and mouth with a tissue not your hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are unwell with cold or flu-like symptoms, and stay home if you have symptoms.
- Avoid crowded places, keep 1.5 metres from other people and avoid shaking hands.
- Try not to rub or touch your face.
Wearing a mask
Wearing a mask when you can’t keep your distance from other people can help to stop the spread of COVID-19. If a person is infected with COVID-19, a face mask helps to stop them spreading COVID-19 when they cough, sneeze or speak.
There are some places in NSW where wearing a mask is mandatory. Learn about when you need to wear a face mask, when you can remove it and who is exempt.
Other situations when you should wear a mask include:
- if symptoms develop while you are out of home
- to and from a COVID-19 test
- if you are notified by NSW Health that you are a close contact of someone with COVID-19 and you are not at home
- when caring or visiting vulnerable people.
This video explains how to use a mask correctly.
Wearing a mask can help stop the spread of covid 19.
This is how you should wear a mask:
Step one: Wash your hands before you put on your mask. Washing your hands stops germs going from your hands onto your mask and face.
Step two: Make sure your mask is the right way up and covers your nose, mouth and chin. Do not touch your mask when you are wearing it.
Step three: Wash your hands again after you put on your mask. It is a good idea to carry more than one mask when you go out.
Step four: Try not to touch the front of the mask when you take it off. Put it in the bin straight away. If it is a cloth mask, put it into a plastic bag and wash it before you wear it again.
Step five: Wash your hands again after taking off your mask.
Maintain a physical distance of two big steps from others as much as possible and avoid crowded places. Greet people with a wave and a smile instead of a handshake or a hug.
When getting together with family and friends it is important to gather in a COVID Safe way.
Watch some tips on getting together safely in this video.
When visiting friends and family keep a safe distance - two big steps from anyone that you don't live with.
Get together outdoors where possible and if anyone feels unwell they should not attend. They should get tested immediately
and stay home.
By being COVID safe you are protecting yourself, your family, your friends and your community.
To find your nearest testing clinic and the latest information go to the NSW government website at nsw.gov.au.
If you come in contact with someone who has COVID-19 you will be contacted by a NSW Health contact tracer.
You can support NSW Health contact tracers by checking in to all businesses, venues and organisations you visit. This makes access to contact tracing information fast and accurate.
If you think you have been at the same place as someone with COVID-19 but haven’t heard from NSW Health, check the latest COVID-19 case locations in NSW for a list of new locations and advice.
For further information see Steps for contact tracing.
This video explains what you will be asked to do if you are called by a NSW Health contact tracer.
This video explains how we use contact tracing to slow the spread of coronavirus or COVID-19.
COVID-19 can easily spread from one person to another. It only takes one infected person to spread COVID-19 in the community.
When someone gets COVID-19, NSW health ask them where they have been in the past few days.
They will also ask for information about the people who may have been in the same place. This is called contact tracing.
The people from NSW Health who make the phone calls are call contact tracers.
If you have been in the same place as someone who gets COVID-19, a NSW Health contact tracer will call you.
The phone call will come from a private number so please answer the call.
If you need an interpreter, tell the contact tracer that you need one.
Interpreters are free and will not cost you anything.
The contact tracer will talk to you to see how you are feeling.
They will ask you questions about yourself.
This information will be kept private.
The contact tracer will tell you the rules you need to follow.
You will need to get a COVID-19 test.
You will also need to self-isolate. This means stay at home, away from other people.
The contact tracer will also ask if you have enough food and medicines at home.
The contact tracer will call or text you when you are at home to check on how you are feeling.
The contact tracer will tell you when you can see your friends and family again.
If you are diagnosed with COVID-19 or are a close contact of someone with COVID-19 you have to self-isolate under the Public Health (COVID-19 Self Isolation) Order.
The self-isolation guidelines provides information on what you are to do during isolation.
By isolating you are preventing the spread of COVID-19 to other people in your community. More information about self isolating is available on the NSW Health COVID-19 Website.
Keep up with your medical appointments
Keep up with your medical appointments and medications, especially if you have an ongoing health condition.
It's safe to seek help – your hospital and local medical services are taking steps to stop the spread of COVID-19. You're not a burden on the healthcare system, so don't delay your health care.
Watch keeping up with your medical appointments featuring Raylene Gordon.
It's more important than ever to keep up with medical appointments and medications, especially if you're over 50 and have an existing health problem.
Self-isolating doesn't mean you should stop seeing your doctor, specialist or mental health provider. Speak to your doctor about any worries and keep visiting health services when you need to.
Come forward and get tested, even if you have only mild symptoms. You can help stop the spread of COVID-19.
For the latest information, go to the NSW Government website.
Look after yourself and manage stress
If you are feeling anxious or stressed
- keep a daily routine
- stay connected with your family and friends.
This can help you stay grounded and keep a positive frame of mind.
Exercise and eating well also helps your wellbeing, especially during uncertain times.
Connection to culture for your wellbeing
Staying connected to culture is important for health and wellbeing. When you can’t see the people you love, use time at home to share your culture and stories.
Watch this video with professional dancer Darren Compton as he shares ways to stay connected to culture.
Our lives have gone through some big changes since the start of the coronavirus outbreak.
We can use this time we are spending at home to share our culture and stories. We can still dance, weave, paint and do lots of things that connect us to culture.
Especially at this time, stay connected to your culture for your wellbeing and to keep our communities healthy.
For the latest information, go to the NSW Government website.