As the country goes into Alert level 4 self-isolation to prevent the spread of Covid-19, you might be wondering what to do if you or a family member develop any symptoms, like a fever or a cough, during this period.
Dr Siniva Sinclair, a public health physician at Counties Manukau and a board member of the Pasifika Medical Association, says the first vital step is for you or your family member to further isolate yourselves from the rest of the family, in either a separate room or in another area of the home.
With guidelines set out by the Ministry of Health, Dr Sinclair further advises that any person showing symptoms should be cared for by a designated healthy person, and any surfaces they touch, like in the bathroom and bedroom, should always be wiped down and disinfected.
“People should avoid the stigma attached to anyone who might be infected and reiterate that the way you get the virus is from droplets that can be spread. That’s why you have to do the best you can to protect others.”
If there’s concern that you or a loved one might have the Covid-19 virus, Dr Sinclair says avoid coming into the clinic and instead call your family doctor or the free Heathline number (0800 358 5453). Testing for the virus can only be formalised by your doctor and they will assess whether or not you should be tested.
If you are tested and it comes back positive for Covid-19, then your medical professionals would advise the best treatment, which might include further self-isolation at home or being admitted to hospital.
“Four out of five people who get Covid-19 will have moderate symptoms and most people won’t have to go to the hospital,” says Dr Sinclair. “But you need to do what is needed to minimize contact so others in the house will not be getting sick.
28 March 2020