Your questions and answers

Answers to your Coronvirus questions.

Scroll through the list of FAQs and the answers. We have also made a series of videos in response to your questions.

What do I do if my child or a member of my household is awaiting COVID-19 test results?

Unless they have also been tested, have symptoms, have been in contact with a COVID positive person or been to a case location, family members do not need to self-isolate while a child or household member is being tested.

What's the typical length of COVID-19 illness? 

The infection period for the virus will vary from person to person. Mild symptoms in an otherwise healthy individual may resolve over just a few days. Similar to influenza, for an individual with other ongoing health issues, such as a respiratory condition, recovery may take weeks and in severe cases could be potentially fatal. More information can be found on the NSW Health website and the Australian Government Department of Health website.

Is it safe for me to come to work?

Ensuring both our hospitals are a safe and welcoming space for patients and families is our priority.

In response to COVID-19, we have made some important changes - so that no one is placed at risk when coming to our hospitals.

Screening is in place at our hospital entry points to make sure no one enters our hospitals who may have an illness that could be passed on to our patients, families or staff.

All families with planned appointments are being contacted and screened prior to their appointment to make sure no one is at risk when they come to hospital.

Visitors are restricted to one parent/carer per patient and siblings are not to attend the hospitals at this time. Currently only patients, parent/carers and essential staff our allowed in our hospitals.

All visitors to the hospitals over the age of 12 are required to wear a mask.

To further reduce the number of people entering our hospitals, clinic appointments are being held via virtual options like telehealth where possible.

Limiting visitors and minimising staff contact is one way we are reducing the risk of COVID-19, and other illnesses, being brought in to our hospitals.

All staff with cold-like symptoms or an unexplained fever are required to be tested for COVID-19 and cleared before returning to work.

These precautions are being taken to keep staff, patients and families across the Network safe.

How can I access COVID-19 updates and information when I'm working from home?

So that as many staff as possible can access our COVID-19 updates and related resources, you can now access the coronavirus staff hub externally. The hub does not require VPN access. You are in the external staff hub now.

With the exception of clinical documentation and procedures which will remain on the intranet, all links used in the COVID-19 updates will connect you to this hub. All of the daily COVID-19 email updates and other information are available in the side menu.

If you are viewing the staff hub within the hospital intranet or on VPN, you will need to click the home icon on the browser, or open a new browser tab to return to the SCHN intranet. 

The hub cannot be found using search function on the website or any search engine, so make sure you bookmark or save the url.

Please do not share the content publicly as it is designed as a staff communication portal.

What is the current advice for pregnant healthcare workers?

Advice from the Royal Australasian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG): At this time, pregnant women do not appear to be more severely unwell if they develop COVID-19 infection than the general population. It is expected that the large majority of pregnant women will experience only mild or moderate cold/flu like symptoms. However, pregnant women are potentially at increased risk of complications from any respiratory disease due to the physiological changes that occur in pregnancy. These include reduced lung function, increased oxygen consumption and changed immunity.
 
Currently there is no evidence of an increased risk of miscarriage, teratogenicity or vertical transmission of the COVID-19 virus. There is a possibility of an increased incidence of premature birth but there is insufficient evidence at this point in time.
 
All health care workers in direct patient contact will potentially have increased exposure to COVID-19. This risk applies particularly, but is not limited to, those in nursing and midwifery, or those providing medical, or ancillary care, to known infected patients. This will increase their risk of contracting the disease. This applies to pregnant health care workers.
 
RANZCOG recommends that, where possible, pregnant health care workers be allocated to patients, and duties, that have reduced exposure to patients with, or suspected to have, COVID-19 infection. All personnel should observe strict hygiene protocols and have full access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

For more information see the NSW Health guidance for pregnant women and new parents, the NSW Health advice for healthcare workers and the Royal Australasian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists website

Are children with COVID-19 presenting with vomiting and diarrhoea?

Although there has been some suggestion that a very small number of cases have involved gastric symptoms with minimal respiratory symptoms, it is currently not being considered as a testing criteria for COVID-19.

Please tell us what is the latest advice/findings on children with COVID-19?  

Newborn babies and infants do not appear to be at increased risk of complications from the infection.

Most children and adolescents with COVID-19 have mild or no symptoms and recover within one to two weeks. Preliminary evidence suggests that the spread of COVID-19 within schools is limited. Initial findings in NSW and overseas indicate low rates of disease in children and limited spread among children and from children to adults.

Please see NSW Health guidance for maternity and neonates and schools, universities and childcare for further information.

Do children test positive when asymptomatic?

Yes see above, as can an adult, especially the day before symptomatic infection. However, the proportion of asymptomatic children depends on testing criteria and ranges from 4% to 28% in published studies.

What effect does COVID-19 have on children under 10 years?

It appears to cause a respiratory infection from which the vast majority globally have recovered without needing medical support.

Can children be carriers?

Children can be carriers but the numbers vary from 4% to 28% in published studies. In addition, the evidence to date suggests that children, asymptomatic or symptomatic, only rarely spread the virus and that children are usually infected by adults. During contact tracing, the China/WHO joint commission recorded no episodes where transmission occurred from a child to an adult. A review of 31 family clusters of COVID-19 from China, Singapore, the USA, South Korea and Vietnam, found only 3 (9.7%) clusters had a child as the index case and in all 3 clusters, the child was symptomatic.