About Parkinson’s Disease

Corona Virus and Parkinsons’s

This page was updated on 13 May 2020 at 10am. This advice will be updated as new information becomes available.

The coronavirus (or COVID-19) situation has affected our lives and society for many weeks now. Still the situation continues to evolve, so our ongoing priority is supporting people living with Parkinson’s, their families and caregivers amid these challenging times.

This page is intended to be a one stop reference point giving you access to the facts and information that is relevant to you. Please bookmark this page as we will be updating the information regularly.

The Parkinson’s NSW specialist care team is here to support you by calling 1800 644 189 or emailing pnsw@parkinsonsnsw.org.au

Our InfoLine and information and support services are still here with support for you.

We will continue to update our website as new information becomes available.

What you need to know

  • There are a total of 3,059 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in NSW. Read more.
  • The Australian Government has announced a 3-Step Framework for COVIDSAFE. However States and Territories can implement changes based on their individual COVID-19 Conditions.
  • NSW has announced an easing of restrictions effective Friday 15 May. The new conditions include;
    • Outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people
    • Cafes and restaurants can seat 10 patrons at any one time
    • Up to 5 visitors to a household at any one time
    • Weddings up to 10 guests
    • Indoor funerals up to 20 mourners, outdoor funerals up to 30
    • Religious gatherings/places of worship up to 10 worshippers
    • Use of outdoor equipment with caution
    • Outdoor pools open with restrictions.
  • NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said, “Without a vaccine we need to be vigilant, especially when restrictions lift. There will inevitably be more cases, so social distancing will become even more crucial.” Therefore it is still important to remain at home unless you are going to:
    • Work (where you can’t work remotely)
    • School or an educational institution
    • Shop for food or other goods and services
    • Medical reason or caring for others
    • Exercise.
  • Here is what you can and can’t do under current NSW Government Public Health Orders.
  • On 11 May, students returned to their classrooms for one day per week. Here is the NSW Department of Education’s Managed Return to School plan.
  • Border closures by Tasmania, the NT, WA, Queensland and SA remain in force and are expected to remain so for 6 months. Anyone entering is to self-isolate for 14 days. See specific State and Territory Government sites for information.

Help slow the spread of COVID-19

We must all help slow the spread of the coronavirus, save lives and protect our health workers. The single most important thing we can do is stay home and limit contact with others.

Anyone can catch and spread it without knowing, putting everyone at risk, particularly those with weakened immunity systems, ongoing medical conditions and people over 60. By staying at home, you can help us slow the spread and together we will save lives.

Smartphone applications available for Coronavirus information and protection

The Australian Government Department of Health has released two smartphone applications (apps) to help citizens and the Government cope with the pandemic.

Coronavirus Australia Application

In March 2020, the Australian Government launched the Coronavirus Australia application.

The purpose of this application (app) is to provide you with timely, verified updates on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) including:

  • Official information and advice
  • Important health advice to help stop the spread and stay healthy
  • Quick snapshots of the current official status within Australia
  • Ability to check your symptoms if you are concerned about yourself or someone else
  • Relevant contact information
  • Updated information from the Australian Government
  • Notifications of urgent information and updates

This is an informational application only. It does not track your location.

  • Download here if you have an Android phone (for example a Samsung, Huawei or Sony brand)
  • Download here if you have an Apple phone (for example an iPhone)

COVIDSafe Application

The COVIDSafe Application was launched by the Australian Government in April.

The purpose of the COVIDSafe application (app) is to slow the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). It tracks the telephone user so the Government can identify and contain virus outbreaks quickly. This in turn will allow the easing of restrictions while still keeping Australians safe.

The new COVIDSafe app is completely voluntary.

It speeds up the current manual process of finding people who have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19. This means you’ll be contacted more quickly if you are at risk. This reduces the chances of you passing on the virus to your family, friends and other people in the community.

State and territory health officials can only access app information if someone tests positive and agrees to the information in their phone being uploaded. Health officials can only use the app information to help alert those who may need to quarantine or get tested.

The COVIDSafe app is the only contact trace app approved by the Australian Government.

  • Watch this video to learn how to use the COVIDSafe application.
  • Go here to learn more about your privacy when using the application.

At the end of the Australian COVID-19 pandemic, users will be prompted to delete the COVIDSafe app from their phone.

This will delete all app information on a person’s phone. The information contained in the information storage system will also be destroyed at the end of the pandemic.

  • Download COVIDSafe here if you have an Android phone (for example a Samsung, Huawei or Sony brand)
  • Download COVIDSafe here if and Apple phone (for example an Apple iPhone)

Warning: There are some mischievous text messages circulating about COVIDSafe. If you receive anything like the following, ignore it:

Where are the COVID-19 clusters in NSW?

This list includes locally-acquired clusters only; where a cluster represents 2 or more confirmed COVID-19 cases associated in location and time. Last updated on 5 May 2020 at 12 noon.

Name of Cluster
 
Date of first positive lab test LGA of event Last case within 14 days Number of cases*
Workplace in Chullora 14/04/2020 City of Canterbury-Bankstown Yes 1-10
Workplace in Lidcombe 11/04/2020 City of Parramatta Yes 1-10
Anglicare Newmarch House 10/04/2020 City of Penrith Yes 41-50
Liverpool Area Cluster 07/04/2020 City of Liverpool and City of Cumberland Yes 1-10
Workplace in Wolli Creek 02/04/2020 City of Bayside Yes 11-20
Waverly Area Cluster 02/04/2020 Waverley Council Yes 1-10
QF28 Santiago – Sydney arriving 29 March 26/03/2020 N/A Yes 31-40
Gosford Hospital 25/03/2020 City of Gosford Yes 11-20
Rose of Sharon Childcare Centre 16/03/2020 City of Blacktown Yes 21-30

To view an interactive map of known COVID-19 clusters and case statistics, visit the NSW Government website below:


NSW GOVERNMENT COVID-19 FACTS

How is it spread?

The virus is most likely spread person-to-person through:

  • Direct close contact with a person while they are infectious or 24 hours before their symptoms appeared
  • Close contact with a person with a confirmed infection who coughs or sneezes
  • Touching objects or surfaces (such as doorknobs and handles) contaminated by a cough or sneeze from an infectious person

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms include fever, coughing, sore throat, fatigue, and shortness of breath.

If you have serious symptoms such as difficulty breathing, call 000 for urgent medical help.

How can we prevent the spread?

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, before and after eating, and after going to the toilet
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and dispose of it in the bin, and wash your hands
  • If you feel unwell, avoid contact with others (stay 1.5m apart from people)

How can we prevent the spread?

What is social distancing?

The more space between you and others, the harder it is for the virus to spread.

https://youtu.be/2WCtGFNENYU

Steps for social distancing in all homes include:

  • stay at home unless going out is absolutely necessary
  • keep visitors to a minimum
  • reduce visits to the shops — instead, buy more goods and services online if you can for pick-up, pre-order or delivery
  • carefully consider what travel and outings are necessary, both individual and family
  • regularly disinfect surfaces that are touched a lot, such as tables, kitchen benches and doorknobs
  • increase ventilation in the home by opening windows or adjust air conditioning

Read the full social distancing guidance from the Department of Health here

Older Australians

For most people, coronavirus is a mild disease with a quick recovery. But for older Australians, it can be more serious.

Together, we can help stop the spread and stay healthy.

https://youtu.be/xwVv2ExBo5E

What does isolation in your home mean?

If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, you must stay home to prevent it spreading to other people

  • Do NOT go to public places such as work, school, shopping centres or university
  • Ask a family member or friend to get food and other essentials and leave them at your door
  • Do NOT let visitors in – only people who usually live with you should be in your home

What if I develop symptoms?

If you develop symptoms (fever, a cough, sore throat, tiredness or shortness of breath) within 14 days of arriving in Australia, or within 14 days of last contact of a confirmed case, you should arrange to see your doctor for urgent assessment.

It is imperative that you:

  • Contact your GP’s office BEFORE you arrive to let them know if you have been overseas or in contact with someone who has been confirmed to have COVID-19
  • You must isolate yourself either in your home, hotel or health care setting until authorities have informed you it is safe for you to return to usual activities
  • If you have any questions, contact the InfoLine on 1800 644 189 or call the Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080

Who is at most risk?

  • People with a compromised immune system (e.g. cancer patients)
  • Elderly people
  • Children
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, as they have a higher rate of chronic illness
  • People with chronic medical conditions (e.g. lung or heart disease)
  • People in group residential settings
  • People in detention facilities

Should I wear a mask?

World Health Organisation recommendations on wearing a face mask:

  • If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with Coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • However, wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • If you wear a mask, then you must know how to use it and dispose of it properly. See directions here.

What more can I do?

  • Be kind to one another
  • Stay connected through phone calls, text messages and social media
  • Stay active
  • Follow the information supplied by reliable sources
  • Social distancing doesn’t need to mean social isolation

More information

For the latest advice, information and resources:

  • www.health.gov.au
  • National Coronavirus Help Line 1800 020 080. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you require translating or interpreting services, call 131 450
  • Your state or territory health agency. Contact details are available at www.health.gov.au/state-territory-contacts
  • If you have concerns about your health, speak to your doctor (call before attending)
  • Parkinson’s related information or advice call Parkinson’s NSW InfoLine 1800 644 189
  • Australian Govt landing page which is frequently updated on COVID-19, Visit here.
  • Australian Government Dept of Health daily status update visit here
  • Australian Government Dept of Health on how to protect yourself and others visit here
  • ACCC advice for consumers during COVID-19 situation – including consumer rights around travel and event cancellations, grocery pricing etc. Visit here
  • World Health Organisation Q&A page on Coronavirus. Visit here
  • Australian Taxation Office hotline for tax questions during COVID-19 situation. Visit here
  • Australian Govt Department of Home Affairs re: latest travel alerts and restrictions, Visit here
  • HealthDirect – Excellent FAQs on various aspects of COVID-19. Visit here
  • Australian Psychological Society (APS) on how to deal with Coronavirus anxiety and how to maintain mental health during lock-down. Visit here
  • ABC news guide to what’s open and what’s closed, and likely timeline. Visit here

Parkinson’s specific COVID-19 information

  • Parkinson’s Foundation blog – live Q&A sessions about COVID and Parkinson’s. Visit here
  • Michael J. Fox Foundation ‘Ask the MD’ content re: COVID and Parkinson’s. Visit here
  • Shake It Up overview – overlaps with Michael J. Fox content above. Visit here
  • Parkinson’s News Today (published from US) overview. Visit here

Emotional and mental well-being 

Exercise

  • YouTube Parkinson’s-specific exercise to do at home:
  • Balance exercises go here
  • Coordination exercises go here

Lighter information on coping during self-isolation

  • Epicurious web site on cooking and eating during the Coronovirus era. Visit here
  • SMH: How people locked down in other countries are coping. Visit here
  • SMH: The non-panicky guide to cooking your way through quarantine. Visit here
  • RSPCA is encouraging people in self-isolation to adopt pets. Read here
  • SBS: Coronavirus and your dog – no need to panic yet. Read here

Reference:

https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2020/03/coronavirus-covid-19-what-you-need-to-know_2.pdf