Mar 12, 2020

Feeling worried about coronavirus?

Are you worried that you have coronavirus?

If you have mild symptoms like fever, cough, runny nose or shortness of breath and you've recently travelled overseas or been in contact with someone diagnosed with coronavirus, visit your local GP for advice and testing. Call ahead to let them know you're coming.

If your symptoms are more severe or you have another emergency condition please visit our Emergency Department.

If you're not sure or you need advice, call the Austin Health coronavirus hotline on 9496 6606 (8am-8pm, 7 days a week) or complete the COVID-19 Online Screening Tool

If you are an ONJ Centre Haematology patient, call your assigned Clinical Nurse Consultant, or 03 9496 5093.

If you are an ONJ Centre Oncology patient, call your assigned Clinical Nurse Consultant, or 03 9496 9849.

Outside of these hours, please call the dedicated Department of Health and Human Services hotline on 1800 675 398.

Haematology Symptom and Urgent Review Clinic (SURC) now open for cancer patients

Our new Haematology Symptom and Urgent Review Clinic (SURC) is now open (Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5.30pm) to support patients experiencing the side-effects of cancer treatment.

This means patients who are feeling unwell no longer need to visit the Austin Health Emergency Department during this uncertain time.

How and when do I contact the SURC?

Patients or their support person are advised to first call the clinic on 9496 9841 to speak with an experienced haematology nurse if they’re concerned about the symptoms they're experiencing, which may include:

  • Temperatures above 37.5
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Bleeding, bruising
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Uncontrolled or persistent pain
  • Mouth ulcers or pain
  • Tiredness/fatigue
  • Skin rash
  • New cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty urinating

What happens then?

The nurse will ask a few general questions and will advise patients about what they need to do next, based on their responses and the symptoms they’re experiencing.

Advice may include:

  • How to manage or improve your symptoms
  • Coming into the SURC for review
  • Seeing your GP or attending the Austin Health Emergency Department

If you’re advised to see your GP or attend the Austin Health Emergency Department, the nurse will notify them prior to your arrival.

Where is the SURC located?

The SURC is located in Day Oncology, Level 3, ONJ Cancer Wellness and Research Centre (Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5.30pm)

What are the SURC's contact details?

Patients or their support person can contact the SURC on 9496 9841 (Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5.30pm).
For concerns outside of Haematology SURC hours, call Ward 7 South on 9496 5470.
To speak to a doctor, please contact Austin Health switch on 9496 5000 and ask to have the Haematology Registrar paged.


Important changes to Austin Hospital's Emergency Department parking and triage process

To ensure we can continue to provide safe, high quality emergency care to our community during the COVID-19 pandemic, Austin Health will be changing the access to our Emergency Department (ED) from Monday 27 April until further notice.

How can I access the Emergency Department?

  • Pedestrian and vehicle access will continue via the current Emergency entrance in Burgundy Street
  • Traffic management staff will be in place at the entrance to assist and direct you to the public drop off area
  • You must stay in your car and wait for an ED nurse
  • The ED nurse will ask you a few simple screening questions and then direct you where to go
  • There will be no short-term parking at ED so you need to be prepared to drive out of the drop-off zone as soon as the ED nurse provides your instructions.

What does this mean for all adult patients?

  • You will need a driver to drop you at ED. If the driver needs to come back into ED they will need to drive out to the car park, park and enter the ED following the signage/instructions within the hospital.

What does this mean for children or patients requiring assistance?

  • The child or patient and their parent or carer will need a driver to drop them at ED. If the driver needs to come back into ED they will need to drive out to the car park, park and enter the ED following the signage/instructions within the hospital.

What if no driver is available?

  • If you don’t have another driver available in your household you may want to consider other forms of transport to ED such as taxi or ride share vehicles – these companies have precautions in place in relation to COVID-19 and are an option.

Please note:  children presenting to the Emergency Department with a respiratory illness and assessed as requiring admission may need to be transferred to an alternative hospital.  The Emergency Department staff will be able to assist parents/caregivers with answering any questions that arise around this process.

Austin’s focus is on the safety, health and wellbeing of our staff and community, while ensuring patients can access quality and safe emergency care.

We will keep the community, patients and visitors updated about any changes. Questions and enquiries can be emailed to, via the online form on our website, or by calling 9496 3566. 

Important changes to Austin Hospital's Studley Road main entry

There are no patient drop offs or pick ups at Austin Hospital’s main entry on Studley Road until further notice.

Please note: there is no change to the ONJ Cancer Centre drop off / pick up area.

The Mercy Hospital for Women’s Emergency Department entrance has been closed due to COVID-19 and can now only be accessed via the main entry.

Use of the Main Entry podium will be restricted to the following;

  • Mercy emergency and birthing arrivals
  • Mercy urgent Medical Staff parking
  • Non-urgent patient transport & neonatal transport (PIPER)
  • Deliveries that cannot be redirected to the loading docks.

If you’re dropping off or picking up patients at Austin Hospital, traffic management will be available to direct you to the car park where 30 minutes free parking for all drop offs and pick ups will be provided.

You’ll be the charged the usual parking rate for the time you are parked after the free 30-minute period has expired.

Please let our staff know if you are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander

In recognition of the health gap experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, we strongly encourage Aboriginal People to seek COVID-19 testing if they have any concerns or symptoms.

Contact our COVID-19 hotline on 9496 6606 (8am-8pm, 7 days a week) or complete our COVID-19 Online Screening Tool.

For further assistance and support call our Aboriginal Heath team, Ngarra Jarra on 9496 5699, 9am- 4pm, Monday to Friday.

For more info visit the DHHS COVID-19 information for Aboriginal communities webpage.

Are you an ONJ Centre patient and worried about what to do?

Information for haematology and oncology outpatients


Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new virus that can cause an infection in people, including a severe flu-like illness.  People who are older or have weakened immune systems are most at risk of severe infection.  This includes patients with cancer or who are on chemotherapy.

COVID-19 spreads through close contact with an infected person; mostly face-to-face or within a household. Close contact means more than 15 minutes face-to-face or the sharing of a closed space for more than 2 hours. It cannot jump across a room or be carried for long distances in the air. The common way of catching it is getting the virus on your hands (by touching a contaminated surface or infected person) then touching your mouth, nose or eyes.

How can I help protect myself from coronavirus?

  • Wash hands often with soap and running water or clean them with an alcohol-based hand sanitiser (at least 60% alcohol)
  • Clean your hands before touching your eyes, nose or mouth
  • Maintain social distancing by staying at least two metres away from others, where possible
  • Do not bring family or friends to your clinic appointment unless absolutely necessary
  • Avoid contact with people returning from overseas

Can I come to my outpatient Specialist Clinic - Clinic 6 appointment?

Where possible, appointments will be held by phone or telehealth, rather than in person.

You will be contacted before your appointment to let you know if it will be by phone/telehealth or at the hospital. Please attend as normal unless told otherwise.

If your appointment is being held at the hospital, please come alone unless you need someone to help you.

Do not come to your appointment if:

  • You have travelled outside of Australia in the 14 days before your appointment
  • You have had close contact with someone with confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection

If you meet either of these criteria you should self-isolate at home. Please see instructions below.

Do not come to your appointment if:

  • You have a fever (a temperature over 37.5°C) OR any of:
    • Recent onset of cough
    • Recent onset of breathlessness
    • Sore throat or runny nose

If you meet any of these criteria your relevant Clinical Nurse Consultant or the Symptom and Urgent Review Clinic on 03 9496 9849.

Patients who have had recent chemotherapy or have a central line AND develop a fever should follow the usual guidelines about presenting to Emergency Department for urgent antibiotics.


Can I visit a patient at the ONJ Centre?

To reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus to our staff and patients, we are limiting our visitors and visiting hours. Please see our information for visitors.

Self-isolating at home?

People who are recommended to be isolated should not attend public places, in particular work, school, childcare or university. Only people who usually live in the household should be in the home. Do not allow visitors into the home.

Where possible, get others such as friends or family, who are not required to be isolated to get food or other necessities for you. If you must leave the home, such as to seek medical care, wear a surgical mask if you have one.

 When in quarantine, you should monitor yourself for symptoms. Watch for:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Other early symptoms to watch for are chills, body aches, sore throat, headache and runny nose, muscle pain or diarrhoea.

If symptoms develop while you are in isolation, please contact your relevant Clinical Nurse Consultant. 

For Haematology patients, if you do have an assigned Clinical Nurse Consultant, call (03) 9496 5093

For Oncology patients, call Symptom and Urgent Review Clinic call (03) 9496 9849.