It's time to say thanks to those who have helped keep Ballarat COVID-safe
As each day brings lower numbers and a hope to return to life as COVID-normal, it is worth reflecting on those who have never stopped working and played their part to keep Ballarat free from the worst of the pandemic.
Friday will mark a special day to say 'thanks', and first in line deserving our praise are the healthcare workers who, in all their myriad roles, have played a key part.
The Courier and our community salute you.
Look out for the stories of Ballarat's healthcare workers at thecourier.com.au over the coming days
Lisa Todd's new job barely existed seven months ago but today it's mentioned daily in news reports and general conversation. As one of Ballarat's contact tracing team Ms Todd has been working to rein in the spread of the virus.
Until July, Ms Todd was a consumer participation coordinator at BHS but joined a team of people pulled from across the health service to form the contact tracing unit.
And gone were regular working hours, with the team operational 24/7 and working long hours to track down contacts when new cases were identified.
"Everything in our lives just stopped and we would work morning through to night because we knew we had to have those people isolated and quarantined to help stop the spread," she said.
As soon as a positive case was notified in the Grampians region, a contact tracer would call the patient and start the process with an interview lasting around 90 minutes.
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"In that interview we talk to people about where they have been, what they have done, but it's very delicate to start with because for these people this was often the first point of contact where they were told they were a positive case."
Contact tracers work through a questionnaire to help prompt patients to remember their movements over the days where they could have been infectious. Calendars, phone calls, diaries, phone contacts, bank transactions are all drawn on to help jog patients' memories.
"We had to get them through that initial shock and all the information and be careful not to overload them," Ms Todd said.
After the initial phone interview, the team then call contacts of the positive case advising them to quarantine or isolate along with advice about keeping their family members safe.
MORE THANK YOU STORIES
- Thank you day: Roundabout to be transformed to commemorate Ballarat's COVID healthcare workers
- Thank you day: Meet the head of Ballarat's COVID contact tracing team
- Thank you day: Why Ballarat's hospital chefs cooked 50,000 extra emergency meals during the pandemic
- Thank you day: BHS security guard Ali Raza goes from mechanic to security guard
- Thank you day: occupational therapists had to jump in to deliver patient meals and help daily care during COVID
The tracers also call patients on day six to check in, day 10 to remind them to go for testing on day 11, and to remind them to isolate until midnight on day 14 and a negative test result. Anyone with mental health concerns receives a daily call.
Ballarat's contact tracers have also helped out other health services across the state, including the Kilmore outbreak earlier this month.
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