Proctecting our families. Protecting our community. 

As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continues we all have a role to play in stopping the spread within our community. 

It is important that we take all the steps to keep our vulnerable community members safe, especially Elders and those with health conditions such as diabetes, renal disease, cardiac and respiratory issues. 

In addition to taking care of yourself by eating a healthy, balance diet, getting regular physical activity, sleeping well and reducing stress it is important that you practice good hygiene, follow social distancing rules and travel restrictions, and self-quarantine if you are unwell. 

What to do if you are feeling unwell? 

13 HEALTH
13 HEALTH is a confidential phone service that provides health advice to Queenslanders. You can phone and talk to a registered nurse 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for the cost of a local call.

Ph: 13HEALTH (13 43 25 84)

Coronavirus Health Information Line
Call this line if you are seeking information on coronavirus (COVID-19). The line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Ph: 1800 020 080

Your mental health and wellbeing 

We understand that daunting times for many people in our community; and that's okay.

We've gathered some useful contacts below and urge anyone feeling left out or down to connect with the following services:

  • Lifeline 24 hour crisis line  - 13 11 14
  • Headspace Townsville - (07) 4799 1799
  • Kids helpline - 1800 55 180
  • Beyond Blue 24-hour line - 1300 22 4636

If you are in an emergency, or at immediate risk of harm to yourself or others, please contact emergency services on 000


Frequently asked questions

What is COVID-19 and what are the symptoms?

COVID-19 is a new, or novel, strain of virus in the coronavirus family that has not been previously identified. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

COVID-19 was discovered in 2019 when a higher than normal number of people in Wuhan, China, started to get pneumonia after having an illness similar to the flu. When doctors tested them, they found these people had a type of coronavirus they hadn’t seen before.

There were already lots of types of coronavirus in the world, but this one was new. COVID-19 is a respiratory illness, which means it affects the parts of your body you use to breathe: your nose, throat and lungs. If you’re sick with COVID-19, your symptoms might include: fever, a cough, sore throat, fatigue or shortness of breath.

How does COVID-19 spread and how can I catch it?

COVID-19 spreads between people, usually when a sick person coughs or sneezes.

These droplets can enter your body through the mucous membranes (wet parts) of your face – your eyes, nose and mouth – which provide a direct pathway to your throat and lungs. The good news is that it can’t get in through other parts of your body like your skin or your hair, but you might be surprised just how easily it can get to the mucous membranes of your face.

First of all, the droplets from someone’s cough or sneeze might fall directly into your eyes, nose or mouth if you’re close enough to the infected person, letting the virus enter your system straight away. Or, the droplets might fall onto a surface where you then put your hands.

If you don’t wash your hands, you could move the virus into your eyes, nose or mouth and become infected. The infected person might also get the droplets on their hands if they cough or sneeze into them, and then place them on a surface, where you pick them up. Direct membrane-to-membrane contact can also spread the virus. This could happen by kissing. The virus can also be spread by sharing items that go in your mouth, eyes or nose, like cutlery, cups, straws, water bottles or cosmetics.

Can COVID-19 spread through the air?

So far, studies show that people are mainly catching COVID-19 through these droplets, rather than the virus hanging out in the air. This is good news, because it means if an infected person is in a room, breathes for a while, then leaves the room, the virus isn’t lurking in the air waiting for the next person to come in. If with further study we find out this information has changed, we’ll let you know.

Will there be changes to appointments?

To keep our staff and patients safe, you may only bring one support person to outpatient appointments across all Townsville Aboriginal and Islander Health facilities from 26 March 2020. Please speak to our staff if you have questions.

If you are unwell and have an appointment scheduled, please contact reception and we will contact you within 14 days to discuss rescheduling your appointment.

If you have a scheduled appointment, and you have not heard directly from the Townsville Aboriginal and Islander Health Service (TAIHS), you should still attend as normal.

Please note:

  • If we must reschedule your appointment you will not lose your place.
  • All urgent appointments will proceed, either face-to-face or virtually.
  • If your condition worsens during this period, seek advice from your GP.

Drive through assessment clinics

A drive-through COVID-19 community assessment clinic has opened at Reid Park to allow easier access and throughput for our community.

The clinic will operate from 8.30am until 6pm, seven days a week.

Please note, a person is eligible for testing if they have a fever (or history of fever) or acute respiratory symptoms, and, in the last 14 days:

  • They were in close contact or household contact with a confirmed case
  • They had been overseas, including on a cruise. Testing is also possible for people who have a fever (or history of fever) or acute respiratory symptoms; AND:
  • Work in vulnerable settings such as healthcare, aged or residential care, military, correction facilities, detention centres and boarding schools.
  • Live in a First Nations community.

Who is at most risk of catching COVID-19?

Because it’s a new virus, everyone is at risk of catching COVID-19, because our immune systems don’t recognise it yet.

This is why everyone around the world is trying so hard to make sure that people with the virus don’t pass it on to others. This doesn’t mean that everyone is going to get COVID-19, but it does mean we all have a role to play in keeping ourselves and others well. The more everyone follows the advice to wash their hands often and properly, stay at home as much as possible, and stay home when they’re sick, the fewer people will catch this virus.

Who is most at risk of getting seriously unwell from COVID-19?

In countries like China, where there has been the most cases COVID-19, people who have become seriously unwell have been elderly (over 70-years-old) or have already had a health condition like a high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, or are immunocompromised. We haven’t had many cases in Queensland yet, so it’s too early to tell exactly how this virus will affect Queenslanders. We expect that most people in Queensland who catch COVID-19 will experience a mild illness, like a cold, that lasts a few weeks.

How can I stop myself from getting it?

Washing your hands often and properly means that you can prevent viruses from entering your body. That means washing your hands when you’ve been out and about and before you eat (and after you go to the toilet!).

Try to stay at least 1.5 metres away from people who are coughing or sneezing. Even if they don’t have COVID-19, they might have germs you don’t want anyway!

We are now asking all Queenslanders to follow social distancing practices:

  • Stay home as much as possible.
  • Keep 1.5 metres away from others as much as possible.
  • Avoid shaking hands, kissing or hugging others.
  • If you can, work from home.
  • Avoid gatherings that aren’t essential.

You can find more information in our blog, How does COVID-19 spread and how can I stop myself from catching it.

How does contact tracing for COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) work?

People are asked to quarantine themselves before they get sick in order to stop or slow the spread of the virus. For example, you may be asked to self-quarantine in your home, hotel room or provided accommodation, and not leave for 14 days if you have just returned home from overseas.

If you are a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 you will be asked to self-isolate unless your symptoms require treatment in a hospital.

To sum it up: isolation is for people who are sick and have tested positive for coronavirus, and must self-isolate while recovering. Quarantine is when you are told by a doctor or the Government you must stay at home for 14 days.

What is the difference between quarantine and isolation?

People are asked to quarantine themselves before they get sick in order to stop or slow the spread of the virus. For example, you may be asked to self-quarantine in your home, hotel room or provided accommodation, and not leave for 14 days if you have just returned home from overseas.

If you are a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 you will be asked to self-isolate unless your symptoms require treatment in a hospital.

To sum it up: isolation is for people who are sick and have tested positive for coronavirus, and must self-isolate while recovering. Quarantine is when you are told by a doctor or the Government you must stay at home for 14 days.

Who do I contact if I have questions?

If you have any questions or concerns regarding Coronairus (COVID-19) it is best to contact: 

13 HEALTH
13 HEALTH is a confidential phone service that provides health advice to Queenslanders. You can phone and talk to a registered nurse 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for the cost of a local call.

Ph: 13HEALTH (13 43 25 84)

Coronavirus Health Information Line
Call this line if you are seeking information on coronavirus (COVID-19). The line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Ph: 1800 020 080


Video links

Take a moment to check out these deadly videos, that will give you more information about COVID-19.


Quick links

Here are some quick links to key government agencies and support services, that can provide the latest information about COVID-19.



Coronavirus COVID-19

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