Local journalist flees virus in London

By Tyla Harrington

Former Riverine Herald deputy editor and now Shepparton News editor Tyla Harrington has been on exchange with the London Times for the past six weeks. But with Australia’s borders closing and coronavirus spreading, she packed her bags and headed for home

ANYONE who has walked or run in the dark will know what it’s like to see things that aren’t there.

Tree stumps, sticks and signs can become kangaroos, snakes or people.

It’s enough to make your heart race and those legs move that little bit (or my case, a lot) faster.

But then (usually on the way back from the run or walk) the sun comes out and all is not what it seemed. The panic was not necessary.

Right now, the region is in the dark – the threat of Covid-19 has arrived with two cases confirmed for Echuca-Moama and three for Shepparton; but what that means or could mean for us all remains to be seen.

People are losing control of rationale.

As was the case this week, when an Echuca woman tested positive and her family were attacked on social media before her story was known.

But I am here to tell you when it comes to Echuca Regional Health – and all of its staff on the frontline – we are in safe hands.

I know that because I experienced their impeccable service first-hand. After returning from London last week, I panicked. Experiencing flu-like symptoms (not unusual when you step off a 24-hour flight), I worried I could bring the disease to my home and infect my family, with whom I would be self-isolating.

So I got tested and the results came back negative.

From the moment I called to check if I was eligible, until I received the call to say I did not have Covid-19, ERH staff could not be faulted.

As soon as I stepped into the emergency room and mentioned flu-like symptoms I was handed a mask, entered into the system and told with a warm, calming smile, I would be taken to see a nurse who would administer the test.

Another woman asked a few more questions and took me to the nurse, who greeted me with that same warm smile before gowning up and doing her tests.

She took my vitals and swabbed my mouth and my nose before explaining self-isolation (that I would need to do it for another 14 days just to be sure) and when I should expect to hear from her.

“We constantly scan the system and I will call you as soon as your results are in,” the nurse said.

I had no contact with anyone else, the staff were hygienic and informative but by no means overwhelmed.

Knowing we have the right team to deal with this crisis is a credit to Echuca-Moama and something of which the twin towns should be proud.

Amidst the panic-buying, the changing government restrictions, business pressure and uncertainty, we can rest easy knowing we will be looked after.

Because right now, as you read this story, the staff at Echuca’s hospital are doing all they can to tackle the disease that threatens to unhinge us all.

Take a deep breath and remember that.

Don’t be confused by the darkness and let ERH be what it has always been – the light at the end of every tunnel.