This information in response to the current novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak. We would like to provide information for you and be clear about the position of Five Good Friends in this very important area. Our highest commitment is to the safety and wellbeing of our Members
It is important to note that this is a changing situation and our communication may become more regular. We are communicating to all Members, Authorised Representatives, Helpers, Five Good Friends Staff and Third Party Providers.
Help us ensure you receive all information and update quickly
If you would like to check we have a current email address for you or a loved one in our system please contact our Member Services Team on 1300 787 581 Option 1 to update details.
If you are an Authorised Representative for one of our Members who does not use email please share all our updates and information with them.
All advice contained on this page and in future will come directly from government authorities.
What are Five Good Friends doing?
Firstly, we want to assure you that we are taking this very seriously. Five Good Friends have an ongoing Alerts and Emergency Response process and procedure for the management and communication of information regarding such issues. This process has been used for the recent bushfires, cyclones and other localised emergencies or situations that could affect the health and safety of our Members or Helpers.
In response to the coronavirus outbreak we have set up a response team who are meeting regularly to monitor the situation closely and coordinate our response. We are linked to the advice of the Department of Health (DoH) and peak bodies.
We began communication to Helpers and Five Good Friends Staff early in early February to provide information and ensure we are all aware of the virus and how we need to respond. This is ongoing.
All of our Helpers complete training in hand hygiene and use of personal protective equipment. We will be requiring all Five Good Friends workers who have not recently completed it to do so again to ensure this important knowledge is front and foremost in all of our minds. We are also communicating to our third party providers to be assured of their preparedness for coronavirus also.
What is a coronavirus and COVID-19?
Coronaviruses can make humans and animals sick. Some coronaviruses can cause illness similar to the common cold and others can cause more serious diseases, including Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). This new coronavirus originated in Hubei Province, China and the disease outbreak is named COVID-19.
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.
How can we help prevent the spread of coronavirus?
Practising good hand and sneeze/cough hygiene is the best defence against most 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, and use alcohol-based hand sanitiser
- and if unwell, avoid contact with others (touching, kissing, hugging, and other intimate contact.
- Please review this information sheet around keeping your hands clean.
Who needs to isolate?
To help limit the spread of coronavirus, you must isolate yourself in the following circumstances:
- If you have left, or transited through, mainland China in the last 14 days you must isolate yourself for 14 days from the date of leaving mainland China. This is even if you are well.
- If you have left, or transited through Iran on or after 1 March, you must isolate yourself until 14 days after leaving Iran. This is even if you are well.
- If you have been in close contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus, you must isolate yourself for 14 days from the date of last contact with the confirmed case.
If you fall into this category please contact our Member Services Team on 1300 787 581 Option 1 so we can discuss your care and services with Five Good Friends.
Please note also: One of our peak bodies, LASA has advised for workers in the industry who have recently returned from Italy or South Korea that they should not attend work for 14 days.
What does isolate in your home mean?
People who must isolate need to stay at home and must not attend public places, in particular work, school, childcare or university. Only people who usually live in the household should be in the home.
Do not allow visitors into the home. Where possible, get others such as friends or family who are not required to be isolated to get food or other necessities for you. If you must leave the home, such as to seek medical care, wear a mask if you have one.
Further information about home isolation can also be found here: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-isolation-guidance
What do I do if I develop symptoms?
If you develop symptoms (fever, a cough, sore throat, tiredness or shortness of breath) within 14 days of leaving mainland China or Iran, or within 14 days of last contact of a confirmed case, you should arrange to see your doctor for urgent assessment.
You should telephone the health clinic or hospital before you arrive and tell them your travel history or that you may have been in contact with a potential case of coronavirus. You must remain isolated either in your home or a healthcare setting until public health authorities inform you it is safe for you to return to your usual activities.
If you fall into this category please also contact our Member Services Team on 1300 787 581 Option 1 so we can discuss your care and services with Five Good Friends.
Who is most at risk of a serious illness?
Some people who are infected may not get sick at all, some will get mild symptoms from which they will recover easily, and others may become very ill, very quickly. From previous experience with other coronaviruses, the people at most risk of serious infection are:
- people with compromised immune systems, such as people with cancer
- elderly people
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
- very young children and babies, and
- people with diagnosed chronic medical conditions.
The Department of Health provides a range of resources that can assist you to remain informed: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/collections/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-resources
While the impact of coronavirus in Australia is limited at this stage, authorities do predict that this will evolve.
We are committed to providing high quality care and services to you. Supporting you to be informed and aware is important to us and we will continue to communicate with you about the work of Five Good Friends during this time.