COVID-19: Testing, Treatments & Managing COVID-19 @ Home

UPDATED: 05/08/2022

Click here for the latest clinic news about COVID-19 and our COVIDSafe plan on our website.

Key points:

  • Be specific about the urgency of the care you need.
  • Always call 000 in an emergency and request an ambulance.
  • If you have mild or no symptoms you do not need to call your GP.
  • Call your GP or Nurse On-Call (1300 606 024) if your symptoms worsen.
  • Book an urgent Telehealth appointment with your GP if you think you are eligible to access oral treatments for COVID-19.

COVID-19 oral anti-viral treatments are now available. Expanded eligibility criteria comes in to effect from Monday 11 July 2022. Age limits and risk factors are summarised below.

Treatment should be commenced within 5-days of symptom onset.

If you are PBS eligible and test positive for COVID-19 book an urgent Telehealth appointment with your GP to discuss your eligibility and treatment options.

These medications are for the treatment in the early phase of COVID-19 infection for people with eligible chronic health and high-risk factor conditions for developing severe disease.

PBS eligibility criteria:

Older Australians and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, who test positive for COVID-19:

  • >70 years old (regardless of risk factors) with or without symptoms
  • >50 years old with 2 risk factors
  • Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people > 30 years old and with 2 risk factors

Risk factors include:

  • living in residential aged care
  • living with disability with multiple conditions and/or frailty (but not limited to living in supported accommodation)
  • neurological conditions like stroke or dementia and demyelinating conditions e.g. multiple sclerosis, Guillain-Barre Syndrome
  • chronic respiratory conditions including COPD, moderate or severe asthma
  • obesity or diabetes (type I or II requiring medication)
  • congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathies
  • kidney failure or cirrhosis
  • living remotely with reduced access to higher level healthcare

People aged >18 years old who are moderately to severely immunocompromised and test positive for COVID-19:Conditions include:

  • blood cancer or some red blood cell disorders (thalassaemia, sickle cell disease)
  • transplant recipient
  • primary or acquired (HIV) immunodeficiency
  • chemotherapy or whole-body radiotherapy in the last 3 months
  • high dose corticosteroids or pulse corticosteroid therapy in the last 3 months
  • immunosuppressive treatments in the last 3 months
  • rituximab in the last 12 months
  • cerebral palsy or down syndrome
  • congenital heart disease
  • living with disability with multiple conditions and/or frailty

A limited supply of tixagevimab and cilgavimab (Evusheld™) is available in Victoria for use in high-risk people for pre-exposure prophylaxis of COVID-19.

Eligible patient groups for tixagevimab and cilgavimab (Evusheld™) pre-exposure prophylaxis have been expanded and now include:

  • heart/lung transplant recipients

  • STEM Cell Transplant or CAR T-cell therapy recipients within 12 months OR STEM Cell recipients with GVHD OR still requiring significant ongoing immunosuppression for other reasons

  • kidney, pancreas/islet cell or liver transplant recipients within 12 months OR requiring therapy for acute rejection OR still requiring significant ongoing suppression for other reasons

  • individuals with primary immunodeficiency syndromes

  • haematologic disorders that may affect B cell function eg. CLL, CMML, myelodysplastic syndrome, myeloma

  • individuals unable to be immunised with COVID-19 vaccines due to genuine, severe allergy if ≥ 65 years old (≥ 50 years old if Aboriginal) and not recently infected with COVID-19 within 3 months

  • individuals who have haematological malignancies and are receiving active therapy

  • individuals with HIV who have a CD4 cell count < 50 cells/mm3

  • individuals who within the last 12 months received:
    – anti-CD20 antibodies (rituximab, obinutuzumab, ocrelizumab, ofatumumab)
    – BTK inhibitors (ibrutinib, acalabrutinib, zanubrutinib)
    – BLC2 inhibitor (venetoclax)
    – anti-CD38 (daratumumab)
    – anti-BCMA bi-specific antibody
    – sphingosine 1- phosphate receptor modulators (fingolimod, siponimod)
    – anti-CD52 antibodies (alemtuzumab)
    – anti-complement antibodies (eculizumab)
    – anti-thymocyte globulin
    – high dose (> 1 g/m²) cyclophosphamide.

In exceptional circumstances, access to Evusheld™ may be considered for patients who do not fit within the eligibility requirements.

Speak with your GP if you think you are eligible to access pre-exposure prophylaxis of COVID-19 medication.

Refer to this link for more information.

  • Click here for a Department of Health fact sheet on what to expect when you have COVID-19. 
  • Fact sheets are also available in more than 60 languages for COVID positive people isolating at home.

Who should get a rapid antigen test (RAT)?

  • Get a RAT as your first option if you have symptoms or are a COVID-19 contact.
  • If you have symptoms or are a contact but your can’t access a RAT, you can get a standard PCR test.
  • If you can’t access either test at the moment, isolate at home until you can.

When should you get a standard PCR test?

  • If you have symptoms or are a COVID-19 contact and you can’t access a RAT, you can get a PCR test.
  • If you don’t have symptoms and you’re not a COVID-19 contact, but test positive on a RAT, the recommendation is to get a PCR test to confirm the result. This is not recommended if you have symptoms or you are a COVID-19 contact.
  • If required for other reasons and you have been directly advised to get a PCR test.

Where can a RAT be obtained?

  • RATs can be purchased from supermarkets, pharmacies or online from selected suppliers.
  • Eligible Commonwealth concession card holders can access free rapid antigen tests through the concessional access program.

Report a positive RAT result:

CLICK HERE to report your positive RAT result.

If you test positive using a RAT you are officially a COVID-19 case.

You are required by law to report your positive RAT result as soon as you can to the Victorian Department of Health.

You can also report your result to the Coronavirus Hotline at 1800 675 398.

  • Only self-report if you test positive from a RAT.
  • You don’t need to report your result if you tested positive from a PCR test.
  • You must isolate for 7 days from the date you got your positive RAT or PCR test result.
  • Don’t get another test if you have already tested positive. You don’t need it. You are automatically released after 7 days of isolation.

There are different types of COVID-19 contacts and different rules apply.  Make sure you follow the right advice for your situation.

Click here for more information.

Most people recover well from COVID-19. However, if you’ve had a positive COVID-19 test and you’re isolating at home, it’s important to protect those around you and monitor your symptoms.

GP respiratory clinics are open across Victoria. If you have COVID-19 symptoms please visit a nearby Respiratory Clinic.

Our COVID-19 vaccination clinic is currently closed. 

Refer to the Department of Health for alternative locations.

Click here to learn about COVID-19 vaccination after a COVID-19 infection, when you need to get one and who it’s recommended for.

Click here for information about face masks.

As a condition of entry those >8 years old must still wear a face mask at our medical centre.

Not feeling yourself? It’s OK to ask for help. 24/7 support is available. You can also speak to your GP about services funded under Medicare.

If you think you have COVID-19 or you have had contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 first make a Telehealth appointment with one of our GPs before attending the medical centre.

COVID-19 testing is recommended if you feel unwell with the following symptoms:

  • fever, chills or sweats
  • cough, sore throat, shortness of breath or runny nose
  • loss or change in sense of smell or taste

Victoria Harbour Medical Centre does not provide COVID-19 testing.

If you have any of the symptoms, however mild, STAY HOME and seek advice from your GP by a Telehealth phone consultation first to find out how to get tested

Our medical centre is committed to ensuring the health and safety of all patients and staff.  We are here to help and have temporarily changed our service model to better manage your healthcare needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Whether you are worried about symptoms of COVID-19 or any other type of health problem, our GPs are still on hand to help.  We encourage you to continue consulting your regular GP for any health matter.

Safe in-person face-to-face consultations or Telehealth appointments are available.  You can make an appointment with us online or by calling the medical centre on (03) 9629 1414.  Screening questions will be asked when you book or attend an appointment.  You will always be informed of your options when you make an appointment.

We remain open for your health needs but as conditions of entry, all patients and visitors must:

  • wear a face mask (those > 8 years old)
  • perform hand hygiene upon entry/exit
  • observe all patient alert signage and posted placards
  • answer pre-entry screening questions truthfully and to the best of your knowledge

If you need urgent medical care always call emergency 000 (triple zero).

If you are seeking information on COVID-19 call the Coronavirus Hotline:

Both hotlines operate 24/7 and will connect you to a registered nurse if needed.

For digital resources and daily health alerts about COVID-19 refer to:

Click here for the Department of Health COVID-19 Home Safety Plan – this guide will help keep you, your family and friends safe and well.

For translating or interpreting call 131 450 first and tell them your language.  Click here for translated resources.  SBS Radio is also broadcasting COVID-19 news and information in your language.