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COVID-19 information: How to prepare your self, household for February 5 reopening date

With over 1 million active cases in Australia, it’s the question on the mind of every West Aussie – what do I need to prepare for when the border opens on February 5 and COVID-19 enters the community?

Many of us know a friend or family member on the east coast who has contracted the virus, but while many medical experts have said it’s likely we could all eventually get COVID, it’s not inevitable.

Taking steps to minimise the spread will ease the pressure on our already buckling health system and help protect the vulnerable and immune-compromised.

Perth Cup. Ascot Racecourse. Double vax covid checks at the Matheson Road entrance.
Camera IconVaccination checks at the Perth Cup. Credit: Jackson Flindell/The Sunday Times

The Australian Medical Association (WA) has released a guide on how to best prepare yourself, and household for the impacts of COVID-19.

“Hard borders and travel restrictions have shielded WA from widespread COVID community transmission up until now,” AMAWA said.

“West Australians must adapt to live with COVID circulating within the community.”

To best prepare, you should:

(Credit AMAWA)

  1. Get fully vaccinated (two doses), and get a booster as soon as you are eligible
  2. Practice good hygiene
  3. Prepare for the possibility of quarantine and isolation
  4. Identify your local health facilities and nearest COVID testing sites
  5. Get tested if you have any symptoms or are identified as a close contact
  6. Familiarise yourself with mask-wearing and physical distancing requirements

Vaccination is the best way to avoid severe disease and death from COVID

  • Ensure everyone eligible in your household is fully vaccinated with an approved COVID-19 vaccine
  • Ensure anyone eligible, gets their booster as soon as possible
  • Research on reliable, trusted websites and discuss any residual concerns or questions you have about the vaccine with your trusted GP

Good hygiene can reduce the spread of COVID

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. This includes before and after eating, and after going to the toilet
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitisers when you can’t use soap and water. Alcohol-free hand rubs are not effective against COVID
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces you use often such as benchtops, desks and doorknobs
  • Clean and disinfect objects you use often such as mobile phones, keys, wallets and work passes
  • Increase the amount of fresh air by opening windows and ensuring your air-conditioning unit is working effectively. For example, clean filters

At all times, be prepared for the possibility of quarantine and isolation

  • Regularly check and maintain your household supply of medications, including over-the-counter medications such as paracetamol and ibuprofen
  • Diarrhoea can occur with COVID, electrolyte drinks may assist with maintaining hydration, or flat lemonade if these are not available
  • Symptomatic medications such as nasal sprays may reduce symptoms but will not alter the course of the disease
  • Have a supply of disposable tissues and avoid using handkerchiefs
  • Have a supply of masks and follow guidelines
  • Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) will become an important part of screening for COVID. Obtain some if you can access them at a reasonable price
  • Be mindful of supplies of household goods. If you are required to isolate or quarantine, you or members of your household will be unable to leave your home
  • Be aware of the food delivery options available to you, and maintain a supply of essential food and household items, should you be unable to leave your home or receive deliveries
  • Identify a place in your home where a person who has COVID or has been in contact with someone who has COVID can isolate and be cared for without direct contact

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