COVID Bulletin - 6 January 2022

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RACGP Bulletin


This morning, the Prime Minister urged people to contact their GP after returning a positive COVID-19 test result. We acknowledge the extra strain this will put on general practice teams, and we’re reaching out with advice on how to prepare your practice.

We recommend updating your patient messaging with the following information. Note, however, this is general guidance only, and you should check with your local Public Health Unit for specific escalation processes to be included in any patient messaging.

If you can, consider updating your pre-recorded phone messages, regularly updating your website and leveraging your social media presence.


Calling 000

Advise patients experiencing worsening or severe COVID-19 symptoms to call 000 immediately. You can find the list of red-flag symptoms in the RACGP’s Home-care guidelines for patients with COVID-19.


Managing COVID at home

Most people who test positive for COVID-19 will likely only experience mild symptoms and recover without requiring special treatment or hospitalisation, especially if fully vaccinated. The majority will be able to self-manage their illness by referring to the RACGP’s COVID-19 patient guide. You could link to this guide from your practice website and through your practice’s social media accounts.

Encourage patients who want to talk to their usual GP about their results or any symptoms to make a telehealth appointment.


Caring for higher-risk patients

Patients who have a higher risk of adverse outcomes or more severe disease should speak with you about their positive result.

This includes those who:

  • are unvaccinated or only partially vaccinated
  • are aged ≥65 years
  • are pregnant
  • have comorbidities, including
    • lung disease, such as COPD, asthma or bronchiectasis
    • cardiovascular diseases, such as hypertension
    • obesity (body mass index >30 kg/m2)
    • immunocompromising conditions
  • have chronic kidney disease
  • have diabetes (type 1 or 2)
  • have liver disease
  • have significant neurological disorders, such as stroke or dementia
  • suffer from some chronic inflammatory conditions and therapies
  • have significant frailty or disability
  • have severe mental health conditions.


Testing positive with a RAT

Positive rapid antigen test (RAT) results won’t be recorded in official case numbers because there’s no formal notification process. The exception is for Victoria.

From Friday 7 January 2022, people in Victoria must register a positive RAT result with the Victorian Department of Health through an online portal or via a hotline (both of which should go live tomorrow).

We also recommend using your communication channels to advise patients who return a positive RAT result that they don’t need to inform you if they don’t have any symptoms or are only experiencing mild symptoms.


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The RACGP does not accept any responsibility for any loss or damage that may result from reliance on, or the use of, any information contained in this newsletter.