Novel COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is a new strain of COVID-19 that had not previously been identified in humans. It can be spread from person to person and continues to be an evolving international health concern. 

COVID-19 Testing

In response to COVID-19 and the Omicron variant, National Cabinet has agreed to new approaches for test and isolation protocols which includes information about Rapid Antigen Testing, COVID-19 positive results and high-risk community members.

You can read the Prime Minister’s full statement here.

COVID-19 testing facilities have been established in Western Sydney to provide Polymerase Chain reaction (PCR) tests to patients who are suspected of or have symptoms relating to COVID-19. Patients should visit a clinic or collection centre if they have a fever, cough, sore throat or shortness of breath and meet the current NSW Health testing criteria.

The results should be available between 24 to 72 hours after testing. During this time patients are required to self-isolate until they receive their test results. If a patient returns a positive COVID-19 test result, it’s a requirement to notify the Public Health Unit.

Rapid Antigen tests are also made available in Western Sydney. For more information visit the NSW Health website

To find out more about testing and clinic locations, visit our COVID-19 Testing webpage.

COVID-19 Vaccination

The Australian Government aims to have as many people vaccinated. Identified priority groups will get the first available safe and effective doses of vaccines.

Find out more about the Government’s COVID-19 Vaccination National Rollout Strategy, the latest information and FAQs on our COVID-19 Vaccination webpage

COVID-19 Information for Our Health Professionals

We recommend health care professionals to stay up-to-date with the latest advice and information. As information changes we will update GPs as it becomes available. 

COVID-19 Telehealth

The Department of Health (DoH) has extended the healthdirect Video Call COVID-19 GP Program to 30 June 2022. The secure video consulting platform has been purpose-built for general practitioners working in private practice and/or Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs). GPs working in private practice can register to access this service. GPs working in Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) can also register for access.

In collaboration with the RACGP, healthdirect is offering the following CPD courses that support GPs and Practice Managers to use Video Call more confidently and effectively. 

Essential Video Call training 
This module is for GPs and Practice Managers new to Video Call and covers the basic functionality of the platform. Register for essential training.

Advanced Video Call training
This module covers more advanced use of the platform. The course will also suit Practice Managers and anyone interested in how Video Call can reshape the provision of services to patients or clients. Register for advanced training.

It is a legislative requirement that GPs and other medical practitioners working in general practice can only perform a telehealth or telephone service where they have an existing relationship with the patient. There are limited exemptions to this requirement.

The GP bulk billing incentive will double for GPs to look after pensioners, under-16s and concession cardholders.

More information is available below:

A consumer factsheet for COVID-19 Telehleath Services is also available.

The DoH has also created a COVID-19 Primary Care Info Graphic online. 

Commencing 13 March 2020 and extending until 31 December 2021, temporary MBS telehealth items have been made available to help reduce the risk of community transmission of COVID-19 and provide protection for patients and health care providers.

New MBS telephone items (92746 and 92747) were introduced to support patients in COVID-19 hotspots.

Under these items, GPs and OMPs can provide a telephone service lasting at least 20 minutes to patients:

  • In a COVID-19 Commonwealth declared hotspot;
  • In COVID-19 isolation because of a State or Territory public health order; or
  • In COVID-19 quarantine because of a State or Territory public health order.

To help keep GPs updated with these changes to telehealth we’ve created a COVID-19 MBS telehealth webpage that lists useful item numbers for your practice.

The Department of Health (DoH) has developed a COVID-19 Telehealth Items Guide that provides GPs with valuable supporting information, on the requirements associated with these temporary items.

healthdirect Video Call is a freeeasy-to-use, trusted and reliable telehealth option for both GPs and patients to conduct video consultations. Download the New Organisation setup details online to get started.

View this short video to learn more about the healthdirect Video Call service.

We can also help set up your practice details by emailing or call 8811 7117. If require further assistance, contact your Practice Development Officer.

The RACGP has created resources to help GPs navigate changes with the current COVID-19 situation. General practices are rapidly changing the way care is accessed and delivered to ensure the safety of their practice teams, patients and the broader community. One of these changes is increasing the ability for general practice consultations to be conducted via telehealth, these include:

APNA telehealth online training is now available to nurses interested in learning more about providing telehealth consults during the COVID-19 pandemic. This interactive module will provide you with the knowledge and skills to facilitate telehealth consults, within a primary health care setting.

As part of the National Health Plan, electronic prescribing has been fast-tracked.

The Department of Health (DoH) has created some useful resources that provide information on issues such as PBS claiming arrangements, supply of medicine to patients, signing for receipts of a prescription, repeats and existing prescriptions.

More information on electronic prescriptions is available on our dedicated webpage.

Information for your Practice

Due to the rising case numbers across the State, NSW Health has introduced a new process for the management of low-risk, COVID-19 positive patients, which took effect on Friday 17 December, toward a self-care model.

Impacted patients will receive this notification via SMS and will be directed to 1800 960 933 and their GP, should they require support.

To support these changes, NSW Chief Health Officer, Dr Kerry Chant has released a letter to GPs.

Western Sydney HealthPathways has been updated in response to the current COVID-19 outbreak and the increased number of patients in the community.
The following HealthPathways will support GPs in caring for low-risk COVID-19 positive patients:

NSW Health uses contact tracing to slow the spread of COVID-19. When someone has been in the same place as someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, they will receive a text message or a phone call from an authorised contact tracer.

NSW Health has provided factsheets to inform the community about the next steps to take if they have been identified as a close contact:

The Department of Health (DoH) has a guidance document: Distribution of PPE through PHNs tranche 4: respirators for general practice, community pharmacy, and allied health, to reflect changes in advice on mask-wearing in the context of increased community transmission of COVID-19.

Health providers are still encouraged to source PPE through their normal commercial means in the first instance, to conserve the National Medical Stockpile’s limited stock of PPE for front line health workers.

You can view previous versions of DoH’s Distribution of PPE through PHNs guidance below:

DoH also has a dedicated page on Personal protective equipment (PPE) for the health workforce during COVID-19

The RACGP has a suite of videos on the appropriate use of PPE and hand sanitiser to help protect yourself, practice staff and patients during COVID-19:

As a Primary Health Network (PHN), we need to use discretion when providing PPE to health care providers, including increased quantities where we deem appropriate, recognising that each provider’s needs will be on a case-by-case basis.

Surgical and P2 masks have been supplied in limited numbers to PHNs for distribution to general practice, pharmacy and health care staff who are exposed to at-risk customers.

  • To register your request for surgical masks please complete our Mask Request Form. However, before submitting your request for masks, please refer to the PHN locator link to check if you are in the Western Sydney area. Any requests submitted outside our area will not be processed.
  • Department of Health (DoH) has advised that stocks from the National Medical Stockpile are limited and masks should only be used in accordance with the guidance provided by The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC).
  • DoH has provided the following useful resource about the use of face masks and respirators in the context of COVID-19.

Our Practice Development Officers have been coordinating the distribution of these masks, adhering to the DoH Distribution of PPE through PHNs guidance.

As per the DoH’s guidelines, we are prioritising dispatch to practices, pharmacies and above-mentioned health care service providers in Western Sydney who are:

  • In these areas where there is a limited supply;
  • Have a population that may be more likely to have been exposed to COVID-19; and/or
  • Have unusual numbers of patients presenting with respiratory symptoms.

Should you have any questions or inquiries, please contact our Helpdesk on 8811 7117.

Practices should refer to the NSW Health website for the latest COVID-19 clinics.

  • Arrange telehealth assessment of patients with respiratory symptoms if they meet the Suspect Case Definition.
  • Arrange further assessment and testing, either at your practice (noting the infection control requirements and you will need to organise specimen collection) a COVID-19 Pathology Collection Centre, GP-led Respiratory Clinic or COVID-19 Clinic. Visit our COVID-19 Testing Locations in Western Sydney webpage for locations, opening hours and referral requirements. 
  • If you are notified of a positive COVID-19 test result, need advice, or have concerns about the ability of a patient to self-isolate, e.g. if they live in a residential facility, contact the Public Health Unit. In NSW calling 1300 066 055 will be directed to your local Public Health Unit.

We have provided an adaptable Triage Guide for COVID-19 to suit your practice when triaging patients.

Translated COVID-19 Testing in Western Sydney Flyers

Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) have created a COVID-19 Testing in Western Sydney flyer which is available in nine languages to help community members access important information regarding testing requirements and locations in our region.

This flyer is available in the following languages:

Testing and Triage Resources

In a state-wide effort to provide primary care providers with consistent and up-to-date information and clinical guidance on the COVID-19 pandemic, a COVID-19 Response Package consisting of a range of COVID-19 specific pathways are now available on Western Sydney HealthPathways. 

You can read more about this Response Package online or access these pathways directly in Western Sydney HealthPathways.

In an effort to help practices keep up-to-date with Government information and changes relating to COVID-19, we have created a Business Continuity for Practices webpage.

The webpage provides information on telehealth changes, preparing your practice and information and support for business continuity.

As our focus is to address the health and needs of the Western Sydney community, your mental health and wellbeing as primary health care professionals are just as important. We understand that you are usually on the frontline of social crises, such as bushfire disasters and pandemics, not only witnessing the physical health impacts but the emotional impacts of these events.

It is important that during this time of increased community anxiety that you remember to take care of yourself. Resources are available to support practices on our Business Continuity for Practices webpage

Health professionals involved in the care of people with a disability diagnosed with COVID-19 or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms can call the COVID-19 Health Professionals National Disability Advisory Service during the new operating times of 8am to 9pm (AEST) Monday to Friday on 1800 131 330.

Calls to the service are answered by health professionals with disability service qualifications and experience working with people with a disability.

Specific support may be required to address communication and management issues, such as behaviours of concern and the reduction of risk to the patient and staff involved in the process. healthdirect Australia has created a poster for GPs which you can display in your consultation rooms.

Find out more by visiting the healthdirect Australia website

What if your patient is an international student and has no Medicare?

Most people that are not eligible for Medicare will have health or travel insurance. For those that do not have adequate insurance coverage, NSW Health will waive these costs to help support international students. This includes the waiving of payment and debt recovery procedures for ambulance transfers of people suspected to have COVID-19 infection, who are taken to NSW Health facilities for assessment.

If your patient tests positive to COVID-19 and requires treatment, NSW Health will also waive these costs. This includes waiving payment and debt recovery procedures for people seeking treatment at NSW Health facilities.

These arrangements have been put in place to ensure payment issues are not a barrier for people from overseas with respiratory symptoms seeking early medical advice.

For more information on student support, visit the NSW Government website or call 1800 020 080.

Pen CS launched the COVID-19 National Guidance Topbar App. This app provides guidance, key links and resources for practitioners surrounding COVID-19. Practitioners have access to key information from the following organisations, straight from Topbar:

  • Australian Government DoH
  • World Health Organization
  • State/Territories Departments of Health
  • Primary Health Networks

The App is available to all Topbar users.

COVID-19 Training and Education

We run webinars on a variety of COVID-19 topics that have been designed specifically for health care professionals in Western Sydney, where you will hear from local experts. Find out more by visiting our COVID-19 Webinars webpage.

General practices can also keep an eye out on our Events Calendar webpage with new events added daily.

The Department of Health (DoH) is hosting a series of webinars for primary care practitioners working on the national COVID-19 response. For more information on upcoming webinars and previous recordings, visit their website.

RACGP Podcasts 

  • The RACGP has an ongoing series of COVID-19 podcasts (under webinars, podcasts and education) to assist you with the latest information. Most of them are 5–10 minutes long, you can listen to them anytime. Recently, the Just a GP hosts spoke to two GPs in Western Sydney, Dr Kean-Seng Lim and WentWest Board member, Dr Wally Jammal, about telehealth changes due to COVID-19.
  • “Practice That” (eg. Prescription images with NSW HealthMBS Update with Brett McPherson)
  • “Just a GP: RACGP special COVID-19 podcasts”
  • “Generally Speaking”: Podcast series for health professionals 


The Western Sydney Local Health District has also launched their very own podcast called Western Sydney Health Check. The first episode explores their organisation’s response to COVID-19, featuring Chief Executive Graeme Loy.


Coronacast is a daily podcast by Dr Norman Swan that helps answer common questions about COVID-19, breaking down the latest news and research. 

You can view previous podcasts for more information. 


A news and education podcast for Australian nurses, working together towards a healthier Australia, presented by APNA. Nurses can keep up-to-date with the latest news, listen to interviews, learn with education segments and hear stories from nurses on the frontline of Australian health.

The Department of Health (DoH) is encouraging care workers across the primary care sector, including general practice, pharmacy, allied health, Aboriginal Health Workers and other primary care workers to attend the free COVID-19 – Infection Control Online Training Module.

This module covers the fundamentals of infection prevention and control topics including:

  • COVID-19 – what is it?
  • Signs and symptoms
  • Protecting yourself and others and
  • Myth-busting

The module takes approximately 30 minutes.

Margaret Jennings, a microbiologist, shows practice staff in Western Sydney how to accurately and safely put on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to prevent COVID-19 transmission and infection.

Watch the training video to learn more about infection prevention control in practices.

Resources available

Key Sources

COVID-19 is an evolving international health concern. We are publishing regular updates on this page, but encourage health professionals to also view the latest advice and information from NSW Health, DoH and the RACGP, as well as current clinical guidance from our HealthPathways website.

COVID-19 Information for Our Community

To help you keep up-to-date with the latest advice about COVID-19, we’ve sourced a range of information and resources for you and your family.

What You Need to Know

As COVID-19 continually evolves, we will be providing information from NSW Government and other health organisations on restrictions, guidelines and advice, to ensure you and your family are informed with the latest updates.

Western Sydney Hospital Visitor Policy

Currently, COVID-19 restrictions are in place for people visiting patients in Western Sydney hospitals. Visitors must be fully vaccinated and show proof of vaccination. More information is provided in English and other languages.

Travel and transport

If you have been in the same place as someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, you will receive a text message or a phone call from an authorised contact tracer.

NSW Health has provided translated resources to inform you about the next steps to take if you have been identified as a close contact:

You’ve had the COVID-19 test. Now what?

There are a number of ways you can access information on what happens now and what you need to do after having a COVID-19 test. 

healthdirect has a variety of information and resources to help you manage COVID-19 at home. This includes what to do if someone in your household has tested positive for COVID-19.

the Western Sydney Local Health District has provided a series of videos about home isolation during COVID-19 to help support you and your family coping with COVID-19 during this time. Each video will touch on mental health and productivity, fitness and exercising and the importance of keeping you and your family safe, healthy and connected when isolated from home.

NSW Health has provided factsheets in the following languages to inform those who have received a positive COVID-19 test result:

Important messages about COVID-19 videos are also available in the following languages: 

COVID-19 information has been developed for Pacific Island Workers:

Translated information for COVID-19 positive patients can be found under the subheading “What to do if I’m COVID-19 Positive”.

COVID-19 is impacting all Australians, however, restrictions and self-isolation can particularly challenge older Australians. To support older Australians in Western Sydney, information and resources have been provided from the Department of Health (DOH) to help you or your family member seek advice on how to cope during this time.

To help people with a disability, and those caring for them, understand COVID-19, the Department of Health (DoH) has developed a range of resources, including Auslan videos. 

Visit DoHs webpage for more information or access these resources from the below links: 

What if I don’t have Medicare?

Students that are not eligible for Medicare will have health or travel insurance. For those that do not have adequate insurance coverage, NSW Health will waive these costs to help support international students. This includes the waiving of payment and debt recovery procedures for ambulance transfers of people suspected to have COVID-19 infection, who are taken to NSW Health facilities for assessment.

These arrangements have been put in place to ensure payment issues are not a barrier for people from overseas with respiratory symptoms seeking early medical advice.

If you test positive to COVID-19 and require treatment, NSW Health will also waive these costs. This includes waiving payment and debt recovery procedures for people seeking treatment at NSW Health facilities.

To stay up- to-date on the domestic and international travel restrictions, use the Healthdirect restriction checker.

For more information on student support, visit the NSW Government website or call Study Australia Partners on 1300 981 621.

Western Sydney Local Health District has developed a booklet specifically designed to help children understand the process of being tested for COVID-19. 

The booklet is available in the below languages:

Where to Seek Health Advice

If you’re feeling unwell and are unsure whether to see your doctor or manage your symptoms at home, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor or:

  • Call the Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080 for people with questions regarding prevention and the spread of COVID-19
  • Call the healthdirect helpline on 1800 022 222 to speak to a registered nurse who can provide advice when you’re not sure what to do — whether you should see a local GP, manage the condition at home, or go to an emergency department, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Call the Older Persons COVID-19 Support Line on 1800 171 866. The Support Line provides information, support and connection to Older Australians. their families, friends and carers. The free service is available Monday to Friday, 8.30am – 6pm.

The healthdirect website includes the following information and tools:


The Australian Government has released an official app with the information you need to know about COVID-19. You can download the Coronavirus Australia app and the COVIDSafe app to help protect you and your family.

MyAus is a multi-lingual resource app that provides resources and information about COVID-19 in over 20 different languages. This app is the first multi-lingual feature that allows users to switch languages when they like without compromising their experience. To access the latest information on COVID-19 in your language, download the MyAus app from the Apple Store or Google Play.

WhatsApp channel

The Australian Government has started an official WhatsApp channel with the information you need to know about COVID-19.

Message +61 400 253 787 or go to in your web browser to get coronavirus information you can trust from the official Australian Government chatbot.

WhatsApp is available from the Apple Store or Google Play.

Telehealth is a secure and easy way to connect with a health professional through phone consultation and/or video conferencing. It offers benefits for patients, health care workers and the health system through improved access, availability, and efficiency of quality health care. Telehealth consultations are bulk billed to Medicare which contributes to providing efficient and effective quality care that works with but does not replace face-to-face consultation. Telehealth helps to remove the stress of living well by using technology we have in our everyday lives, to help us look after our health more easily.

How to book an appointment?
If you are interested in booking a telehealth appointment, contact your local health service or general practice. For more information, you can contact Telehealth Helpline on 6325 0860.

As part of the National Health Plan, information and resources about telehealth have been provided to help you and your family receive the right health care.

Key Sources

With COVID-19 evolving, we understand that this time can be overwhelming and difficult for you and your family. Official Government websites have created information that will inform you on how to keep healthy during this time. To keep up-to-date with the latest information, click on the links below:

Information on this page is correct as of 5:00pm AEST Friday 21 January 2022.