Staying abreast of who can get tested for COVID-19 has been challenging for everyone, including local doctors, and this has led to some confusion for some Byron Shire residents.
For one local, advice from her doctor was that neither she, nor her daughter, could get tested for COVID-19.
‘My daughter had been feverish, with a sore throat, and had aches and pains so we rang the doctors. They said not to come in and we got a call back for a tele-consult,’ said the local, who asked not to be identified.
‘The doctor said it could be many things, and to self-isolate for seven days. They sent us lots of material on how to do that. If it gets worse they said to go to hospital.’
Then she also began to show the same symptoms and again rang the doctor and was given the same advice.
‘I work in a job that where I face customers, and though I haven’t knowingly been in touch with a person known to have COVID-19, I have been in contact with a lot of people,’ she told Echonetdaily.
Her doctor told her that if she was determined to get a test it would cost her $110, which as a casual worker was a big hit to her finances. Yet, if she self-isolated for the full 14 days, she would be without an income.
It wasn’t until she spoke with a friend that she found out that as a Byron Shire resident, if you are showing symptoms for the virus, you can get tested for free at the Byron Hospital COVID-19 clinic. So she went to get tested.
‘I got my results back yesterday, and it was such a relief to find out that I didn’t have it,’ said the local resident. ‘The test involves a swab in the mouth to around the tonsils, and then a second swab in the nasal passage,’ she said.
The COVID-19 test is free at the Byron, Tweed and Lismore Hospital COVID-19 clinics. There is no need to make an appointment, you can arrive and be tested that day.
As of April 19, confirmed COVID-19 cases for Byron Shire were at 16, Tweed Shire 15 and Lismore Shire 5. The data is available at www.health.nsw.gov.au.