Updated: Oct 5, 2021
More than a year of our lives have been spent learning behaviours that aim to keep COVID at zero. Unfortunately now, COVID is no longer something that our community can keep at bay. No matter how careful we are, at some stage, someone in our town will contract COVID. Someone we love. Someone who is a friend, and someone who might need support. Fortunately, they don't have to experience it alone.
Photo supplied by Unsplash.com.
So what does living with COVID actually mean? It means lots of things but let’s just start at the beginning.
At some point every one of us is going to discover that we’ve been to a listed exposure site. What does that mean? It means that we get tested and isolate. There are different rules depending on exposure risks. If it was at a Tier 1 site, you’ll need to get tested and even if you get a negative test result, you’ll need to isolate for 14 days. If it was a Tier 2 or 3 site, then once you get a negative result you no longer need to isolate.
So, what do you need to know when you get pinged?
How and where to get tested. No one gets pinged at a convenient time. You will have stuff you’ll have to cancel immediately. You’ll have no milk in the fridge, and you will feel rattled. Don’t stress. The most important thing is that you get tested straight away. Have a list or link (like this one!) handy so you know where to go - and focus on that. Everything else will sort itself out.
Think about what this means for your work or business? If you work, find out how your employer wants you to handle this? If you run a business, take the time to work think about this in advance. Two handy things you will need to know are where to apply for a COVID disaster payment (while it's around!) or a lost income payment because you had to get tested. Need help doing this? Feel free to call your Neighbourhood House to help.
Tee up a support system. Have a friend you can call. Someone who can drop off groceries or give you a ring regularly. If you don’t have someone handy to do this, tap into a group like your local Neighbourhood House who might be able to help you with this. Most supermarkets, chemists and newsagents will deliver (even in small towns) if you just give them a call.
Lastly, remember there is no shame in getting COVID. Yes. It’s possible that if you are exposed to COVID that you might worry about social stigma or what people might think. You may have the unfortunate luck of speaking with someone who thinks it's ok to say something moroni... oops, I mean insensitive. Don’t buy into this. If anyone makes you feel bad, tell them this is their chance to grow up. We can take precautions to keep ourselves and others safe, such as vaccination, but it is likely that at some time each of us will be exposed or even contract it. How people and the communities they live in handle this will be a sign of how well connected and caring they are.
…tomorrow's article: One family's experience getting COVID.
This article is part of a 5-day series developed by the network of Neighbourhood Houses in Hepburn Shire (Trentham Neighbourhood Centre, Daylesford Neighbourhood Centre, Creswick Neighbourhood Centre and Clunes Neighbourhood House). The series will include an interview with a Victorian family who lived through the delta-strain. Each article is designed to help provide us with some insight into what living with COVID might mean and how individually – and together - we can prepare for it.
AUTHOR: Lana de Kort.