22.8 C
Byron Shire
January 21, 2022

Personal tales of COVID-19

Latest News

Greens Mandy Nolan to hold community forum in support of nurses and paramedics

Locally and across the state nurses, and paramedics are struggling in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as they are being asked to do double shifts and manage effectively in health system that is struggling to cope. This has led to an increasing number of nurses and paramedics resigning.

Other News

SES issues Minor Flood warning for Lismore

Moderate rainfall across the Wilsons River catchment since Wednesday has caused significant river level rises along the Wilsons River and its tributaries, which has the potential to cause minor flooding along the Wilsons River at Lismore late Friday morning.

Renew Fest hosts May vigil for grief

Renew Fest will host a weekend-long Vigil For Grief in May 2022, and will return with the festival itself in 2023.

The Greens launch NurseKeeper for nurses and paramedics

The Greens have written to the Premier to ask him to immediately introduce ‘NurseKeeper’ to urgently introduce pandemic pay and bonuses for nurses and paramedics. 

NSW COVID update on COVID deaths – vax stats and comorbidities

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet again opened his COVID update with condolences to families who have lost loved ones, and thanks to the  ‘inspirational work of our health workers'.

It is The Byron Shire Quiz!

It is The Byron Shire Quiz!  How much do you think you know about the Byron Shire? Ross Kendall challenges you to...

BoM tsunami warning for the NSW Coastline

The State Emergency Service (SES) has issued a tsunami warning as a result of an eruption of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apa in the Tongan Islands at 3.10pm AEDT yesterday, Saturday, January 15.

On Monday, the Cavvanbah COVID testing station in Byron closed to any more people in the queue an hour after it opened. A 70-something Mullum great-grandmother then sat in the rain outside the Byron Hospital testing station for three hours. Photo supplied.

It’s often said that Byron is a bubble – a hippie, influencer, surfer, ‘everything is chill’ bubble.

During most of 2021, we were in a bubble where the pandemic only touched us on the periphery.

It was visitors who would raise our case numbers to single-digit figures – a pair of nurses from Queensland at Easter, a man and his two children in August – but we went into lockdown and that nipped it in the bud. 

Now the Byron area is a different bubble.

Since we have become ‘free’ the number of positive COVID-19 cases in the Northern NSW Local Health District has risen rapidly, and the Byron area has, for some time, led in cases recorded. 

Every day we are now climbing into the hundreds of new cases. 

As of January 3, www.nnswlhd.health.nsw.gov.au reported that there were 485 cases in total for the region, with Byron at 156, followed by Tweed with 136. That’s 3,652 cases in the four weeks to January 3 in northern NSW.

Katie from Ocean Shores was at a party on December 9. She felt sick and had a test on the 12th, and got a positive result on the 13th.

She told The Echo, ‘I did two rapid tests, and they came up negative’.

‘And then I did another one. And it came up with a really, really faint line for positive. I had symptoms at that time so I got the PCR test and a positive result within 24 hours’.

‘I started off having headaches and then a runny nose like hay fever. Then I had a little cough and then started getting really sore – my bones and joints were aching as I’ve never felt before. I just wanted to curl up in a ball and sleep.’

Katie’s symptoms are not uncommon. Mick from Mullum, Susannah visiting her parents in Lismore, and Iris from Sydney have pretty much all experienced the same path, though the severity and recovery has differed. All of these people are double vaccinated.

Health dept response

What didn’t vary much was the response from the government and health authorities. Katie got her result in the afternoon.

‘Then I got a phone call from close contact people from the government asking me all the questions of like, where I’d been, who’s been around the house. I had gone to my child’s preschool art show. So I had to email them.’

Katie says she was told to just take some Panadol and Nurofen and she’d be fine.

‘In the post-contact, the lady said I’d have a nurse calling me and there should be a COVID-19 package dropped off at my house the next day. It never arrived’. 

In Sydney things are much worse. Iris is a 65-year-old woman who lives with her partner and young adult son. The couple had to wait several days only, to get a negative result, and their son who had the exact same symptoms, got a positive result more than a week after he was tested.

‘We were all sick, we took (rapid antigen tests) RATs and they came up positive. To receive a negative PCR while we were so sick was actually very upsetting.’

Susannah also from Sydney felt completely healthy, but did a rapid antigen test the day before, and the day of, her flight to visit her parents in Lismore, just to be cautious. ‘It wasn’t until I was actually on the flight up that I started to develop symptoms.’

Susannah says that after her positive PCR test, she got a couple of text messages from NSW Health that linked to two surveys she needed to complete.

‘Other than that, there wasn’t any additional contact from them, nor any comprehensive info or instructions.’

Mick says that his positive PCR result got him text messages from NSW Health asking about his vax status, age, gender, and whether he was ATSI and a fact sheet.

Mick feels he got an adequate response from health authorities. ‘Under the circumstances, yes. If my symptoms had been more serious, I don’t know how things would have played out, but I hope and assume they have relevant processes in place in those cases.’

The ping you don’t want

None of the group said they got a ping from NSW Health on their phone to alert them they were a contact, either close or casual.

Katie was told by a friend that the party that she had been at had hosted a positive case, Susannah said that as she lives in Sydney she was aware case numbers were rising rapidly. She got two negative RATs before she left for Lismore. ‘My parents are in their late 70s and it was my worst nightmare to bring COVID up to them!’

Mick’s close contact was the family he went to visit for Christmas. ‘Given my mum’s age everyone involved checked they were negative via RAT before going. I’d also had a negative PCR a couple of days earlier following a possible contact at work the previous week. We did a RAT before driving to Sydney and another on mums balcony when we arrived just to make doubly sure. So I was three times negative by then! My siblings and relevant partners – including my heavily pregnant sister-in-law, also all returned negative RATs. All, apart from my two-year-old nephew, were double vaxxed.’

My sister got sick Boxing Day morning with what we assumed was a cold. She got worse over Boxing Day. My brother and his wife (the pregnant one) left Boxing Day but my sister-in-law was also not feeling great by the time they got home and did another RAT on the morning of the 27th. This one came back positive.

‘On that same morning, we were meant to go to Sydney to see other family including my dad in his late 70s and his wife. Given that positive RAT and my sick sister, we decided that wasn’t wise and decided to drive home to Mullum instead.

‘By the time we got home all three of us – my partner and my adult daughter – were all starting to feel under the weather too. My brother let us know he had also returned a positive RAT so the next morning (28th) we got up early and went to the Cavvanbah centre drive-thru. 

Iris said she had previously pings from NSW Health. ‘Those were just one’s saying ‘monitor for symptoms’.

How did it happen

All but one of the group are pretty sure they know where and from whom they got infected. Susannah said she couldn’t be sure. ‘I’d had a few COVID alert notifications from Service NSW check-ins in the week prior to my symptoms developing (i.e. at Woolworths and a couple of other shops I’d visited).

‘All of my work Christmas parties had been cancelled, so the only other thing I could possibly pinpoint is a small gathering I attended about four days before my symptoms developed.’

Mick is very sure it was his sister, Iris says her son git ill before she did and Katie got it from a party in Byron.

All of the group knew from what they had heard in the media that they probably had COVID before the positive result came through.

Did you suspect you had COVID before you had a test?

Susannah says she suspected she was positive before it was confirmed via a test because she started feeling ill quite suddenly and the symptoms seemed consistent with COVID. ‘I did two rapid antigen tests the day after my symptoms developed. Both were positive, so I went for a PCR test immediately. Those results took 68 hours to come back, so it was a pretty nerve wracking wait to receive the confirmation.

Iris said yes and no. ‘It has felt very like any other flu or cold and I never had a sore throat, so it didn’t feel like a big new “COVID” illness. On the other hand, logic said it had to be.’

Katie was the only one of the group who felt ill enough to have to go to hospital. ‘My symptoms were quite severe. I was pretty out of it. I couldn’t really do much, I couldn’t taste, I couldn’t smell anything – I was hardly really eating – only enough because I had to eat to take like some codeine. I was drinking heaps and heaps of water.

‘I did feel at one point that I needed to call triple zero and I did ring the hotline and I got through. My headache was so severe I couldn’t properly see. Nothing was working  – not the Panadol, not the Nurofen, I was just so sore. I was crying and the nurse on the hotline said, “I think you should call an ambulance”. I thought “Oh my God, that’s really dramatic for freaking massive headache”.’

I didn’t want to be that drama queen, I mean, I was feeling like death. I wanted that help. I needed someone to just go “you’re going to be ok”. And it was my partner who in the end did that. He got me an ice pack and I just fell asleep with my ice pack on my head. And it really, really helped.

The road to recovery can be long and winding

Susannah says she has had colds that were much worse, and Iris says hers was like a mild flu, or a heavy cold, but her family didn’t get cold symptoms at all – she is recovering steadily.

Mick and his family are doing well.

‘We’ve pretty much recovered now, other than a lingering cough and not quite 100 per cent full energy. It felt like a rough flu at its worst, never anywhere near bad enough to consider medical attention (thank you vax)’.

Katie says she is concerned about getting it again.

‘After almost four weeks I still have some symptoms – coughing and my headaches are really bad. I mowed the lawns the other day and then I got this real gnarly cough. Like, really nasty – then I had to sleep for the rest of the day. So yeah, I think I’ve got a long COVID.’

 


 

Recent stories, information and updates regarding COVID-19

January 21 National Cabinet on Omicron, RATs, vax and treatments

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has issued a media release about yesterday's meeting of the National Cabinet.

0

Biz step up to feed frontline staff

Local paramedics will be able to get free coffee and snacks at selected local cafes, as part of a major community effort to support frontline health workers during the ongoing and increasing COVID-19 outbreak.

0

Hospitals under strain

With ever increasing pressure on health services across the nation and locally, how are health staff coping – and are there enough ICU beds and ventilators to cope with the ongoing surge in COVID-19 cases?

3

1,114 cases of COVID-19 in the Northern Rivers in last 24...

The Northern NSW Local Health District say that to 8pm yesterday, January 17, there were confirmed 1,114 new PCR cases of COVID-19.

7

The Greens launch NurseKeeper for nurses and paramedics

The Greens have written to the Premier to ask him to immediately introduce ‘NurseKeeper’ to urgently introduce pandemic pay and bonuses for nurses and paramedics. 

8

Lung specialist ‘we’re doing the best we can’ and Hazzard lays...

At this morning's COVID-19 update press conference, Concord and Nepean Hospitals lung specialist Dr Lucy Morgan gave an update on COVID-19. Dr Morgan says she works as part of a team of people looking after patients with COVID.

10

Northern NSW Local Health District COVID update for January 14

The Northern NSW Local Health District reports that to 8pm last night, January 13, there were 905 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the District – this figure does not include positive rapid antigen tests (RAT) for the reporting period.

1

Record breaking day of COVID deaths as Hillsong sings and dances...

As New South Wales breaks another COVID record with 29 lives lost in a single day, NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet spoke to the media this morning with an update on the pandemic.

8

The PM’s report from the National Cabinet meeting yesterday

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has released a media statement about the meeting yesterday of the National Cabinet.

0

What do you do next if you test positive to COVID?

With more than a third of callers to the National Coronavirus Helpline asking about isolation, healthdirect has launched a guide to help those who are COVID-19 positive know what they should do while isolating at home and when to seek medical help.

6


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

2 COMMENTS

  1. It would help public safety if the article had identified who was and who was not vaxxed. And how many vaxxes. It would encourage the unvaxxed to get jabbed.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

NSW COVID update on COVID deaths – vax stats and comorbidities

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet again opened his COVID update with condolences to families who have lost loved ones, and thanks to the  ‘inspirational work of our health workers'.

January 21 National Cabinet on Omicron, RATs, vax and treatments

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has issued a media release about yesterday's meeting of the National Cabinet.

Reform needed to deliver electric trucks in Australia

With the aim of getting more electric-powered trucks on Australian roads, the Electric Vehicle Council and the Australian Trucking Association have collaborated to develop the policies necessary to drive Australian trucking into an electric future.

Biz step up to feed frontline staff

Local paramedics will be able to get free coffee and snacks at selected local cafes, as part of a major community effort to support frontline health workers during the ongoing and increasing COVID-19 outbreak.