Queensland and Brisbane Heat batter Laura Harris is one of Australia’s essential workers on the frontline of the COVID-19 fight.
Away from the cricket field, the dual WBBL winner works as a nurse in the emergency department at Brisbane’s Logan Hospital.
Harris was supposed to be on leave in South Africa with fiancée and World Cup winner Delissa Kimmince for Australia’s limited overs series against the Proteas, but due to the Coronavirus outbreak, the 29-year-old has remained at work.
To date, Queensland has recorded over 700 cases of COVID-19, with Harris’ Logan Hospital testing hundreds of people.
Queensland Cricket teammates Georgia Redmayne & Laura Harris talk about their experiences as health professionals facing the global COVID-19 pandemic.
“I was in a Corona-Clinic and there were about 300 people that came in, and we tested about half of them in that one day. Now we’ve got a much stricter criteria. If anyone has a cough or cold symptoms, we act as if they could have it (COVID-19) until its ruled out,” she said.
“The whole [emergency] department has changed from what it was just because they are going into disaster management. It’s more getting around the sphere of the unknown of what could happen that people are most concerned about if anything.”
For healthcare workers on the frontline, the COVID-19 threat is very real. Fortunately, as Harris explains, Logan hospital has returned only a few positive cases for COVID-19, but that hasn’t stopped staff workers from isolating themselves away from family and loved ones
“I think from a medical point of view, we are worried about it. It’s just not happened to this extent before. There are a lot of staff at work that are sharing photos of their own self isolation at home from their kids and their families, which is a bit of a laugh but something that everyone feels necessary at this stage, not knowing how bad it can get.
I was in a Corona-Clinic and there were about 300 people that came in, and we tested about half of them in that one day.Laura Harris
“Touch wood we don’t actually get it but we are doing all the right precautions at work, so at the end of the day if we do get it, it shouldn’t be from work, it should be from outside somewhere.”
The precautions are extra necessary considering nurses and healthcare workers are not tested for the virus, unless they are showing symptoms or have been in known and unprotected contact with an infected patient.
As Harris describes, certain parts of the hospital are cordoned off to those with COVID-19 or those being tested. And staff are covered head-to-toe in protective gear.
“Once you get to work, you are wrapped in bubble wrap around those patients. There are a couple of set areas where the people who are likely to have COVID-19 go, and then basically you are just in a full kit of protective gear with gloves, masks and a big face shield. You can’t see any uniform.”
As Australia goes further into lockdown in attempts to flatten the curve, Harris and many other healthcare professionals and essential workers will remain on the front line. But as she says, it’s all in a day’s work.
“It’s just part of the job. We have such a good healthcare system and everything that we are doing, is good,” she said.
“We were laughing last night because people are donating money or giving us free coffee and I think that’s all well and good but give it to the people who have just lost their job.
“We’ve had much worse diseases come through that just haven’t hit us quite like this. They’re things you don’t hear about as often because they aren’t as prevalent but at the end of the day, you are doing the same thing then what you’re doing now, just a bigger scale at the minute.”