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2019-nCoV Coronavirus: Advice for General Practitioners RSS

Testing for novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is indicated for patients who have:

• Travelled to (including transit through) mainland China in the 14 days before the onset of illness OR

• Have had contact in 14 days before illness onset with a confirmed case of 2019-nCoV AND

• Presented with fever OR acute respiratory infection (e.g. shortness of breath or cough)

Contact your local pathology collection service to check they are able to take specimens from mildly unwell patients. Sicker patients should be referred to the local ED, but call ahead.

Situation update:

• Most 2019-nCoV cases have been in China, mainly in Hubei Province but increasingly in other provinces

• Infection can cause severe acute respiratory illnesses, but there is a spectrum of disease

When a patient with suspected 2019-nCoV infection presents:

• Ask themto wear a surgical mask and place them in a separate room

• Notify your public health unit if they are very unwell

Arrange nCoV testing:

• In patients who meet the case definition above

• Private pathology companies are building capacity to take specimens from patients suspected to have 2019-nCoV referred by their GP. To arrange testing:

- refer the patient to the local pathology collection service, but first check to see if 2019-nCoV testing is currently available there

- request 2019-nCoV testing and screening for routine respiratory pathogens

- ensure the patient’s travel history, symptoms and date of onset of symptoms is noted on the laboratory request form

- if your local service cannot collect the samples, refer the patient to their local emergency department, but call ahead so the ED can prepare-provide the patient with a surgical maskto wear to thec ollection centre or ED

• Very unwell patients (e.g. shortness of breath or severe cough) should be referred to the local ED

If taking samples on patients with mild symptoms:

• Use standard, contact and droplet transmission precautions: long sleeved gown, gloves, protective eyewear/face shield, and surgical mask

• Recommended specimens are:

- two combined nose and throat viral swabs, or nasopharyngeal viral swabs

- lower respiratory specimen (sputum) if obtainable

• As for other pathology test requests, you areresponsible for informing the patientabout their test results

Advice to patients about home isolation

• Patients must self isolate until they have received their 2019-nCoV test result

• Provide them with a face mask and a fact sheet on home isolation

• If you have concernsabout the ability of a patient to self-isolate, for example if the patient lives in a residential facility, please call your public health unit

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