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COVID-19: FAQ - Self isolation and quarantine

Sonder Safe   |   Mar 18, 2020 3:44:41 PM
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Photo credit: Mimi Than

There's a lot of confusion around the new self-isolation guidelines. Read on to stay informed, and if you have further questions, please use "Swipe for help" in your Sonder app. If you don't have a membership with us, you can call +61 (02) 8379 7799 any time, day or night. 

Q: What is the difference between self-isolation and quarantine?

A: Self-isolation is advised to help prevent the spread of infection. You will need to self-isolate if you have returned from overseas, or have been in contact with a suspected case of COVID-19. Self-isolation should take place in your home. While in isolation, there's no need to wear a mask, but please wear one if you need to leave your home, for example to see a doctor. You can ask someone who isn't in isolation to help you source food and other necessities.

You can read more in the official self-isolation guidelines here.

Quarantine is required if you have a confirmed infection of COVID-19.  It might take place in your home or in a special ward at the hospital, depending on the severity of the case. You won't be allowed to have close contact with anyone and your care providers might wear personal protective equipment (PPE) to reduce chance of transmitting the virus. Your medical care provider will give you guidance about what to do as you recover.

Quarantine is a necessity, not a choice, to help keep our community safe. If you have been required to go into quarantine, it's really important to comply with the instructions of medical professionals, and take care of yourself. You can get help advice here

Q. What is "Social Distancing"
 
A. Social distancing means taking action to reduce the number of close physical contacts we have with one another.
It is the main available way to slow the pandemic by making it more difficult for the virus to spread from person to person.
Specifically, actions that are to be taken include:
  • Avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). These symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough
  • Avoid non-essential use of public transport when possible
  • Work from home, where possible. Your employer should support you to do this.
  • Avoid large and small gatherings in public spaces, noting that pubs, restaurants, leisure centres and similar venues are currently shut as infections spread easily in closed spaces where people gather together.
  • Avoid gatherings with friends and family. Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media
  • Use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services.  
For those residing in Australia, the most up to date information is available on the Australian Government Department of Health website. 
For those residing in New Zealand, the most up to date information is available on the Ministry of Health NZ website
 
It is important that people remain virtually connected during social distancing.  Staying at home during the current coronavirus outbreak isn’t about breaking contact with your friends and family, but rather keeping a physical distance to make sure the disease doesn’t spread.
 
If you’d like advice about your specific circumstances, don't forget you can “Swipe for help” in your Sonder app if you are a member. 
 

Q. What should I do if a member of my household gets sick?

A. It’s important to know that as we move into the cooler months, the usual common colds and flu-like illnesses we experience in winter will occur. That means if someone in your household (a family member or housemate) is unwell, it’s not always COVID-19. If you're worried about your symptoms, please use "Swipe for help" in your Sonder app or call us on (+61 (02) 8279 7799. 

If anyone in your home has recently returned from overseas, or has been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19, they should seek medical attention by calling the coronavirus advice line (AUS: 1800 020 080) and (NZ: 0800 358 5453 ) or calling their doctors clinic or their nearest hospital if they feel very unwell. 

According to the home isolation guidelines, if someone in your home is isolating, you should:

  • Stay in a different room from them, or be separated as much as possible.
  • Use a separate bathroom, if available.
  • Avoid shared or communal areas and wear a surgical mask when moving through these areas.
  • Surfaces in shared areas such as door handles, taps and benches should be cleaned daily with household disinfectant or a diluted bleach solution
  • If they are suspected of being infected and are waiting on test results, the people they live with may need to be isolated—even if they don’t have any symptoms
  • 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 (stay more than 1.5 meters from people)

Q. Do I need to stock up on supplies?

A. While food and medical outlets including supermarkets and pharmacies continue to remain open during this time, it is a good idea to make sure you have basic emergency supplies on hand. Items to think about include:
  • 3 Weeks of Food: Don't buy more food than you need, but now's a good time to cook some of the dry stuff that's been sitting in your pantry. Canned items are great to have around. Utilise the freezer where possible, frozen fruit and vegetables are a good choice. Oat and almond milk have a longer shelf life than fresh cow's milk.
  • First Aid Kit: Now is a good time to make sure yours is still stocked. paracetamol, antiseptic wipes and a thermometer are items you should try to include.
  • Medications: It is also important to keep a one-month supply of prescription medication on hand as in case getting to a chemist for a refill becomes difficult. Basic medical supplies, including over-the-counter medications to alleviate possible symptoms or the virus or other infections should be purchased if you don't have already.
  • Cleaning and hygiene supplies: To keep basic hygiene and prevent the spread of infection, try to ensure you have soaps for hand washing, bathing, laundry, and cleaning, as well as disinfectants to keep surfaces clean.
If you believe you may have COVID-19 or are displaying symptoms, you should not collect supplies yourself. Try to use your network to arrange delivery to you. 

If you’d like advice about your specific circumstances, don't forget you can “Swipe for help” in your Sonder app if you are a member, call us or contact one of the dedicated resources listed above.