A MEREWETHER woman who was waiting for the results of a test for coronavirus (COVID-19) has come back "negative".
Natalie Kube, who has been been quarantined in her home since returning from a trip to Berlin on Wednesday, has been diagnosed with influenza and picornavirus.
Ms Kube previously told the Newcastle Herald she had arrived back from her holiday with a bad headache, body aches, and fevers.
When her symptoms became worse, she called Triple 0, and was taken by ambulance to the John Hunter Hospital where she was placed in isolation.
Ms Kube said she was dismayed by the response she had received after talking publicly about being in quarantine while waiting for her test results.
"I am shocked and saddened at how people didn't read the story and that it blew it up in a negative way," she said.
Ms Kube's 11-year-old daughter has been in quarantine with her since Thursday, and she had not been to school since coming into contact with her mother later on Wednesday afternoon.
"They basically commented that I was a bad mother, asking me where I send my child to school, that I'm irresponsible, careless and selfish," she said.
"Some people were even saying I did it for publicity?
"If they had cared to read the actual story they would have read that the symptoms got worse while I was on the second leg of my flight, and that my first symptom was simply a sore throat."
Ms Kube said she understood people were anxious and scared, but felt many of them had not done their research and were simply looking for someone to "shoot down" in the hype.
"If I had, for a minute, thought in Berlin that I may have the virus I would never have gotten on the plane," she said.
On Monday, NSW Health's chief medical officer Dr Kerry Chant said they were aware there had been a lot of negative social media targeting some of the families affected.
"Members of the community who have come forward for testing are doing the right thing to protect their loved ones and the broader community, and they actually need our support," she said.
"Not to be targeted in a social media sense.
"We want to detect as many cases in the community that we can... If we are deterring people from coming forward for testing, that is the worst thing we can do as a community in responding to the COVID-19."
NATALIE Kube has been quarantined in her home in Merewether as she awaits the results of a test for coronavirus (COVID-19).
Ms Kube said when she arrived back in Newcastle from a three-week trip to Berlin on Wednesday, she had a bad headache, her body ached, and she was shivering.
"I was starting to get sick over in Berlin," she said.
"Thursday of last week I started getting a sore throat, and I had been in places where there were lots of people from lots of different countries. When I was going over, people were wearing masks and I was actually thinking then that it was overkill. I just don't get sick, at all. I never get the full on flu."
Ms Kube said her trip home was 22 hours all up.
"There was a layover in Doha," she said. "By the time I got on the plane after the layover in Qatar, I had a headache, my whole body was aching, I had the chills - I was shivering on the plane. I was trying not to cough. I didn't want to freak people out. But by the time I got off in Sydney, I was not in a good place."
Ms Kube said she had woken at midnight on Wednesday, coughing.
"I had a temperature of 39.9," she said. "I don't ever get a temperature, so I kind of freaked out.
"I called Triple 0."
An ambulance took her to John Hunter Hospital, where she was kept in an isolation room for about five hours.
"It was like they didn't know what to do with me," she said. "Eventually they took swabs from my nose, my mouth, took some bloods, did some chest X-rays and sent me home," she said.
Ms Kube is now on "home quarantine" with her 11-year-old daughter.
"If she shows any symptoms I need to take her straight to hospital," she said.
"But they said even if I did have it, it is just another strain of the flu - that's how they worded it. And because I am not a high risk candidate - I'm healthy, not over the age of 65 with bad health, and I am not a young child - it was fine for me to go home.
"There's a lot of hype about coronavirus, but not a lot of information behind it.
"I think people are freaking out because they don't know much about it.
"I had to let everyone that I had been in contact with know. But I won't get my results until the NSW Health department calls me."
On Thursday, Hunter New England Health officials said there had been no confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the region, despite rumours circulating on social media and in the community that there had been cases in Maitland and Cessnock.
The Newcastle Herald understands the Cumberland Street Clinic in Cessnock cancelled appointments on Thursday as a "precaution" while awaiting the results of a test for a suspected case.
A Hunter New England Health spokesperson said while more than 3000 people had been tested for possible COVID-19 across NSW - including the Hunter - there were no "confirmed cases" in the district as of Thursday.
"While we are currently continuing to contain the spread of the virus, increasing international spread means that a pandemic, including local transmission, is quite possible and planning has begun," he said.
NSW Health "regularly" briefed local health district chief executives, including Hunter New England chief, Michael DiRienzo on the COVID-19 situation in NSW.
The health district's public health unit was working closely with clinicians in preparing for public health emergencies, including "exercising various scenarios" to maximise preparedness, the spokesperson said.
"All hospitals in the Hunter New England Local Health District are equipped to treat a person with COVID-19. Hunter New England Local Health District is reviewing and revising its pandemic plan in response to COVID-19. As part of this, there is enhanced triaging in our Emergency Departments (EDs), with broad screening of all presenting patients. EDs are also undertaking random drills to ensure staff readiness."
The NSW Health website says symptoms of COVID-19 range from a mild cough to pneumonia.
"Some people recover easily, others may get very sick very quickly. There is evidence that it spreads from person to person. Good hygiene can prevent infection."
The website advises that if people become unwell, and think they have symptoms of coronavirus, to seek medical attention.
"Call ahead of time to book an appointment. Tell your doctor about your symptoms, travel history, and any recent close contact with someone who has coronavirus.
"If you must leave home to see your doctor, wear a surgical mask (if you have one) to protect others.
"If you have serious symptoms such as difficulty breathing, call 000 for urgent medical help."
The website says while there is no treatment for coronavirus, medical care could treat most of the symptoms.
"Antibiotics do not work on viruses.
"If you have been diagnosed with coronavirus, isolate yourself in your home."
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