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COVID-19 spreading through gatherings of family and friends in Melbourne

10-30 people can be infected through simple catch ups

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Alice Nicolas and Gerard Leslie are sharing their experiences of COVID to inform the community that it is still here and the transmission is quick whether it be in a family gathering, catch-up with friends, or any indoor/outdoor gathering. Always protect yourself and others.

Second Covid experience in my family

Alice Nicolas

In April 2020, I wrote my experience about being COVID positive. This January 2022, I am telling another story so you will all be aware of its dangers, on what to do and be prepared for the worst.

I have an 86-year old aunt who lives separately in a granny’s flat at the back of our house. I would be very careful when we would go out. There were so many times that either I discouraged her to come with us or she simply refused to go out due to the increasing COVID cases. In the two years since this pandemic happened, Ate Nancy survived the outbreak only to be broken by a simple family gathering.

Ate Nancy is now recuperating. I had to call an ambulance the other day just so her vital signs can be checked. Calling an ambulance was the advice from the COVID hotline people as we could not enter her unit to physically check on her. Luckily, the paramedics said she’s doing good and healthy for her age considering she is currently battling COVID. She was lethargic the past few days but they said it’s normal to be unwell for a COVID patient. I only made sure that she was eating well and taking her fluids.

Ate Nancy
Ate Nancy

We all know that transmission of Omicron is so quick these days so a simple family gathering or a catch-up with friends can become a nightmare after a few days. Always think that any person, inside or outside of your home, can be a carrier of the virus. At the moment, there are Filipino-Australian families who are COVID positive and unlike what happened in 2020 where only one or two in the family were tested positive, now we can hear or read news that there are 6, 8 or 10 people in the same family who are positive. If we prepare for a fire drill, ensure you have a similar emergency plan for this pandemic. Stock up on basic food items, arrange with family members who will deliver food, pre-plan your duties at work, check you have a new batch of Panadol, cough syrup, oximeter to check on the oxygen level, the thermometer at home. If two or three of you in a family of 6 will be down with COVID, what would be your strategy? Always think that if it could happen to other families, it could happen to you as well. So be prepared!

If you think you were exposed to a COVID positive person, observe yourself for symptoms, have a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) or go to a testing centre. Always have RAT in your medicine cabinet just like how you have Panadol in stock all the time.

If you test positive, there is no need to panic. Just follow the guidance of health officials in terms of isolation, symptoms, eating healthy food and hydrating. By following the rules, your family can avoid passing COVID on to anyone else in the community. Always be prepared if you notice the condition of your family with COVID is getting worse. Call the COVID hotline or the nearest hospital/ambulance. Keep their numbers handy. Observe, observe, observe. 

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For COVID positive people, they only need to quarantine for 7 days now. But if you still have symptoms, take extra care and extend your isolation time. If unwell, stay at home.

Hearing COVID stories and reading the news can overwhelm us. As what the Department of Health said, we need to live with COVID now and wearing masks could be a normal thing to do. My advice is that we continue doing our usual routine and tasks, we can still go out shopping, attend parties, organise catch-ups with friends and family members, but like a robot, our body should remain like steel protected from the outside enemies. If COVID is here to stay for a little while, we can help avoid spreading the virus by doing the right thing like isolating ourselves until the result comes out negative and most importantly by making our immune system stronger.

Stay safe everyone!

My COVID experience

Gerard Leslie

After taking a PCR test on 27th December, at the time I thought nothing of it as I was only testing due to being around a positive contact on Christmas Day. By the 28th however, I was out for the count. Really tired, had aches, pains, headaches and hot/cold flushes and I was in a bad way. I had only recently just got over a regular flu, so this wasn’t ideal. Unfortunately, it took the health department a full four days to get back to me with my results (and in the meantime, I took a rapid antigen test as well as I was getting impatient). Both tests were positive, and I immediately moved from partial isolation in the formal lounge, to full isolation in the main bedroom. 

Gerard Leslie
Gerard Leslie

Thankfully I am double vaxxed, otherwise, I would hate to think that I may have been another statistic in hospital on a ventilator (especially as I have lung problems and asthma regardless of COVID). 

I am now almost out of isolation and the worst of it is over. No more headaches, no more temperature, but I just can’t shake this chest congestion and cough. I am lucky to have a super hero wife, who has been looking after our three girls, cooking, cleaning, doing all the run around, and still finding the time to keep food coming to my door constantly. I truly am a lucky man. 

If you are not currently vaxxed, make that your new year’s resolution. If you haven’t had your booster shot – get onto that too (as I will as soon as I am allowed to). 

I was also lucky to have a few people around me – both family and friends – who also tested positive and we were able to share our experience with each other which actually helps. Likewise, I hope sharing this experience with all of you helps too. 

Take care, stay safe, get vaxxed and have a happy 2022. 

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