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What is COVID-19 ?

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a corona virus, a family of viruses that can cause illness in humans and animals.

Symptoms range from a mild cough to pneumonia. Some people recover easily however others may become seriously ill very quickly.

Keep up to date with the latest advice at

For more information on COVID-19, visit

The Australian Government National Coronavirus Helpline  1800 020 080 is available 24 hrs a day 7 days a week. If you require translating or interpreting services, call 131 450.


Symptoms range in seriousness. People with COVID-19 may experience:

  • Shortness of Breath
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue
  • Fever  (a temperature above 37.5 degrees)
  • Muscle aches and pains

Symptoms usually start a few days after a person is infected with the virus.

Most cases occur approximately 3-7 days after exposure.

In some people, symptoms can take longer to develop (up to 14 days).

How it spreads

There is evidence that the virus spreads from person-to-person.
The virus is most likely spread through:
• close contact with an infectious person
• contact with droplets from an infected person’s cough or sneeze
• touching objects or surfaces (like doorknobs or tables) that have cough or sneeze droplets from an infected person, and then touching your mouth or face

What’s the current risk?

The WA Department of Health recommends you keep up to date with the latest advice from the Australian Department of Health

Reducing your risk of infection while living with diabetes

People living with diabetes need to take the same precautions as everyone else, with a few additional considerations. The WA Department of Health is sharing advice on how to reduce your risk of infection:

• frequently hand washing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand rub to reduce the spread of infection
• covering coughs and sneezes with your elbow or a tissue.
• avoiding contact with anyone that has cold or flu-like symptom (maintain a distance of at least 1m)

If you are living with diabetes, you should also be extra conscious with cleaning your injection/infusion and finger-stick sites with rubbing alcohol and change lancets every time you check your blood glucose.

Planning ahead with diabetes

To make sure you can continue to manage your condition, you should consider the following:

1. Check your stocks

Ensure you have sufficient supplies in case you need to self-quarantine for 14+ days. This includes ensuring you have adequate prescriptions, medications and diabetes supplies, your chosen hypoglycaemia treatment which may be needed to manage your blood glucose levels, as well as adequate supplies of food in your pantry, fridge and freezer. 

We also recommend checking that your blood glucose meter works if you haven’t used it for a while and that you have a backup battery and enough strips. 

You can buy medications and other supplies from your local pharmacy or your local NDSS product stockist. The Diabetes WA online shop is also stocked with diabetes products (other than medications), including blood glucose monitors, lancets, test strips, needles and syringes and other related products. You can order online by visiting the online shop or by calling the Diabetes WA Helpline on 1300 001 880. 

Ordering supplies 

Diabetes WA is hearing that some consumers in WA are experiencing difficulty accessing NDSS products through some pharmacy Access Points. 

Diabetes WA understands that occasionally some local wholesalers (the suppliers of NDSS products to WA pharmacies) may have limited stocks of some popular products and are awaiting re-stocking from the Pharmaceutical company’s warehouses located on the east coast. These warehouses are reporting they have plenty of stock available and are routinely sending stock to fill any supply gaps.

The Diabetes WA online shop is an NDSS Access Point and we have also experienced some supply difficulties. However, we are working with suppliers and are getting new stock through every day.

You can order online at

If you are in WA and experiencing difficulties accessing your NDSS product supply, please telephone the Diabetes WA Helpline on 1300 001 880. Diabetes WA’s shop holds some stocks which may be able to assist you.  Alternatively, by phoning, we can help you: 

  • identify potential alternative NDSS Access Points which have different wholesaler suppliers and therefore may have stock.
  • move to your backup plan. If you don’t have one, our Credentialled Diabetes Educators can help you by arranging a telehealth appointment.

Please note Diabetes WA does not support bulk purchases and inventory hoarding. Many of the NDSS products have expiry dates which mean large inventories will likely expire before usage. 

Please note that the NDSS has introduced temporary measures to ensure availability for everyone.  

  1. People can now order three (3) boxes of NDSS products including blood glucose monitoring strips, urine monitoring strips, pen needles, and syringes. 
  2.  There is also a limit of two (2) boxes for insulin pump consumables (IPCs) for any order. This includes:
  • 2 x boxes of infusion setsor cannulas (an average supply for two months) 
  • 2 x boxes of reservoirs/ cartridges (an average supply for two months).

Access to continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) and Flash GM (FreeStyle Libre) products through the NDSS remain unchanged. 

For the vast majority of people living with diabetes, these limits represent well over one month’s supply. 

There may be some exceptions where people may need more than these supply amounts, such as people living remotely. People who need to order more than these amounts should contact the NDSS Helpline on 1800 637 700. 

Please visit the Therapeutic Goods Administration website for the latest information about the availability of diabetes medicines. 

For the latest information on COVID-19 and the NDSS, please visit the NDSS website  

2. Review your sick day plan

When you are living with diabetes, everyday illnesses or infections can cause both high and low blood glucose levels. It is important to be prepared in case you get sick – have a personalised sick day action plan and sick day management kit ready to use at the earliest sign of illness.

Review and update your sick day management plan with these NDSS fact sheets:

Managing sick days for type 1 diabetes
Managing sick days for type 2 diabetes

3. Vaccinate

To reduce your risk of having to cope with both COVID-19 and other illnesses at the same time, the WA Department of Health advice is that people should continue to get flu and pneumonia vaccinations as applicable and when they are made available. As always if you have any concerns about any of this information you should consult your doctor.

If you have symptoms

If you are very unwell (such as experiencing shortness of breath) and need urgent medical help call 000.

If it’s not an emergency, you can get advice from HealthDirect on 1800 022 222 to speak to a registered nurse. They have an online symptom checker that can help you decide what action you should take

Diabetes WA is here to help

Diabetes WA supports all Western Australians living with diabetes. Many of our services do not require face-to-face contact, including:

• You can speak to a credentialled diabetes educator via our Helpline on 1300 001 880 from 8:30am to 4:30pm, Monday to Friday.

• The Diabetes Telehealth service is available to all Western Australians who cannot easily access a diabetes educator. To refer yourself into this service, call 1300 001 880 or email

• Our website, newsletters and social media channels provide up-to-date information for people with diabetes. Find out more by visiting

Update as of 19 March 2020:

In order to minimise risk of COVID-19 exposure, Diabetes WA has suspended programs that involve face-to-face contact in the community, including DESMOND and Smarts workshops, kids camps and Let’s Prevent group programs.

We will review this decision and recommence face-to-face programs  when it is safe for the community  and our staff. If you are interested in being notified when our programs come back online, you can leave your details here.

In the meantime we have increased our support  through our helpline, and by making our Diabetes Telehealth service available to all Western Australians living with diabetes.

Advice from the Commonwealth Department of Health

COVID-19 and the National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS)

We recognise that people with diabetes and their families may be concerned about their risk, and also the availability of their diabetes medicines and NDSS products and supplies. Most people are continuing to order and receive their NDSS products and diabetes medicines as usual. This ensures enough products are available for everyone.  For the latest information on COVID-19 and the NDSS, please visit the NDSS website at 

If you need a bit of extra support, or if you are struggling with your diabetes management during this time, please don’t hesitate to call the NDSS Helpline on 1800 637 700 to speak to a health professional.


Further Information

• Diabetes WA Helpline: 1300 001 880
• WA Department of Health – advice on reducing risk of infection:
• Commonwealth Department of Health website – advice on reducing risk of infection:
• National Coronavirus Health Information Line: 1800 020 080 (Available 24/7)
• HealthDirect: 1800 022 222

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