COVID-19 testing protects community: Hunter doctor


When it comes to COVID-19, the message from Australian doctors is clear: get tested if you show any symptoms.

Many of us may be thinking ‘what’s the point?’

However, Hunter General Practitioners Association COVID Response Unit’s Dr Lee Fong says it’s important to prevent any outbreaks.

Hunter General Practitioners Association Secretary, Dr Lee Fong.

“Everybody has to do their part,” he says.

“If we have even the mildest symptoms, such as headache, fatigue, cough, sore throat or runny nose, we need to get tested immediately, then isolate until we get a negative result, and our symptoms go away.

“[I know] we’re getting a bit sick of being tested.  

“The first time we had a sore throat and got tested, we were a bit nervous about both getting a swab shoved up our nose, and what the result would be.

“But now, two, three, four or five tests later, we’re just over it.

“The tests always come back negative, so what’s the point?

“But the truth is none of us have any idea when that next sniffle, that next sore throat, that next headache is going to actually be COVID-19.”

The NSW Government has several rules and restrictions in place to help prevent the spread including 1.5-metre physical distancing requirements and limits on how many people can visit a household or gather outdoors.  

But, Dr Fong says the events of the last few months are proof of how easily COVID-19 can spread in the community.

“We are so fortunate in the Hunter to have not had a case of COVID-19 for months,” he says.

“But we live in a society that is characterised by porous regional and state borders.

“We don’t have a moat and drawbridge around us and that’s a good thing.

“But the price we pay for those freedoms is that COVID-19 could break out one morning anywhere in Australia and by the evening could be in the woman sitting a couple of tables away from you in a café, or the man standing behind you in the supermarket checkout.

“We need to get tested for the sake of our health, for the sake of the health of our family and friends, and to help avoid the regional and state lockdowns that wreak havoc with the mental and financial wellbeing of our whole community.”

For more information on coronavirus or where to get tested, go to the NSW Health website.