What is COVID-19? 

Watch the video in Pitjantjatjara language.

Coronavirus disease, or COVID-19, is an illness that affects the lungs and is caused by a new virus. The virus can spread from person to person very easily.

It can spread when a person coughs or sneezes the virus into the air. People may breathe in the virus or touch the virus on surfaces.

Everybody is at risk of getting coronavirus (COVID-19). For most people, they will only develop mild illness, but others may develop severe sickness that affects the lungs, heart and brain.

People who have weaker immune systems or chronic health conditions (such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease) and Aboriginal Elders are at greater risk of getting very sick or dying from COVID-19.

Signs and symptoms of COVID-19

Most people with COVID-19 have mild symptoms and recover.
But some people like Elders, or people with medical conditions can get very sick and may need to go to the hospital.

COVID-19 can cause symptoms like:

  • fever (a temperature of 37.5˚C or higher) or chills
  • cough
  • loss of taste or smell
  • sore throat
  • tiredness (fatigue)
  • runny or blocked nose
  • shortness of breath (difficulty breathing)
  • nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea
  • headache
  • muscle or joint pain
  • loss of appetite.

For some people, sickness can be more severe and can lead to pneumonia or breathing difficulties and can even cause death.

Call 000 if you need urgent medical help (such as chest pain or difficulty breathing).

COVID-19 testing

Watch the video in Pitjantjatjara language.

If you are feeling very sick, such as chest pain or can’t breathe easily call 000 (Triple Zero).

If you have any symptoms of COVID-19 get a COVID-19 test as soon as symptoms appear. Anyone can get tested and it’s nothing to feel ashamed of.

It’s fast, safe and clean. The COVID-19 test is free for everyone and you don’t need Medicare.

After your test, go straight home and wait for your results, avoiding other people and places.

Visit the Testing for COVID-19 page for more information.

Easy Read resources

See the Australian Government Department of Health COVID-19 Easy Read resources page.

An easy read fact sheet provides information and instructions on how to use a rapid antigen test (RAT).

How can I protect my community and Elders?

Aboriginal people are at risk of getting really sick from COVID-19. Even if you are feeling well it is important to take steps to stop the spread and prevent the virus from spreading.

You can protect yourself and others with these COVID Safe behaviours:

Why is COVID-19 dangerous for Aboriginal Communities?

Aboriginal people are vulnerable when it comes to COVID-19 because:

  • many people are living or gathering in one house, which makes spreading the virus more likely.
  • they have higher levels of pre-existing health conditions (particularly diabetes, lung, heart and kidney disease). People with these health conditions, especially those aged over 50, are more likely to get very sick or die from COVID-19.
  • they live further away from health care.
  • COVID-19 can spread quickly—it will only take one person coming into the community with the sickness to put the whole community at risk.

Funerals and Sorry Business during COVID-19

Normally we have gatherings when someone has passed away but, during the coronavirus pandemic, larger groups of people mean greater risk of spreading the virus, especially for the more vulnerable such as Elders and people who already have health problems.

Read, share and display the Funerals and sorry business advice poster (PDF 251KB) when you have gatherings to protect your mob.