This week we spoke with our good mate, local Yamba Doctor, Eric Davey about the current COVID-19 situation in our home town.
Wow, i bet in little old Yamba you didn’t think you would ever be faced with something like covid-19.
IC: How are you coping?
Doc: No, I would have expected something like that working in Africa! But, having a Tropical Medicine background, every-time i hear about a new breakout I worry, is it going to be “the one?” So far things have been ok here. We’re not seeing more patients, actually less, but the busy workload has increased. Seems like it takes forever to get anything done now. All the phone calls, and trying to stay up to date. It’s just a hectic atmosphere. My stress levels seem to fluctuate with the amount of news I read.
IC: Locally do you think people are taking the situation and warnings seriously?
Doc: Most people seem to have a pretty good awareness. I still see groups chatting in the streets though. I blame the media. They insist on reporting positive test numbers even though everyone knows that there are plenty of people out there who just haven’t been tested. If we had a better estimate of how many cases were actually roaming around Yamba, we’d all be more careful.
IC: Is Yamba prepared for what could potentially happen, as we have seen overseas, through the media?
Doc: I think so. With the number of basic essentials produced in Australia, we’ll never run out of supplies (only one of the reasons hoarding is so ridiculous). And our population density is low enough that even if it does get intense, people can still duck out for a breath of fresh air without bumping into anyone else. Grafton and Lismore hospitals have already expanded their capability so they’ll be able to handle the surge as long as we keep the curve flattened.
IC: As a tourist town, who relies on tourists, do you agree with stopping tourists coming or asking ones that are here to go back to their own communities?
Doc: Yes, for now, we need to stop all movement. This is going to last a few weeks at least so folks are better off riding it out at home. It will be tough financially, but you can revive economies, you cant revive dead people.
IC: Anything else you think Yamba locals should be aware of with COVID-19?
Doc: It’s scary stuff, but you don’t have to be afraid. You won’t catch it if you stay 2 metres away from everyone and if you touch anything to wash your hands. Just be conscientious and you will be fine.
IC: In your career have you ever experienced something like this? If so where and what?
Doc: No, we were always on the lookout for Lassa Fever and Ebola outbreaks in Liberia, but it never happened. Working in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina was intense, but that was due to lack of resources, not really anything to do with disease.
IC: Are medical staff in Australia getting enough support from the government and also from the general public?
Doc: It changes daily and I think the government has done an amazing job. The transition to supporting tele-health has been fantastic. It’s only in the logistics of getting enough proper PPE (personal protective equipment) that they’ve struggled. But they’re trying.
IC: After all of this is over, where are you planning to escape too?
Doc: I would love to go to Nicaragua. Tasty food, warm water and great surf! Vaminos!!
IC: That sounds awesome, we are coming too!
Thanks so much, Eric for the taking the time (we know you are so busy) to inform and educate us about COVID-19 and how it affecting us locally. From all of us, we can’t thank you and all the other health care workers, enough for all the work you are doing on the front-line. See you on the other side….
A little extra on the Doc- With a bio like this, we are stoked to have his wealth of knowledge and experience in our small town. Eric was born in Dallas, Texas but moved a lot with his family (his dad was a doctor with US Air Force) He graduated from Medical School in San Antonio, Texas in 2001 before Settling in Ventura, California. Here’s just some of the places in the world has he worked….Mexico, Morocco (in the peace corps), Chad and Liberia (Africa), Northern Queensland and New Orleans (after Hurricane Katrina) In July 2012 he moved to Yamba with his midwife/nurse wife, Susan and their two girls. Will the adventure ever stop, last year the family took off for the year travelling around Australia. At the moment we are just glad he is calling Yamba home…But we are sure this story will continue. Where too next Doc…
Image #1: Playing Santa for Angourie boardriders
Image #2: On our way to Morocco September 2018
Video: Dancing Dr Eric in the Medina