REAL AUSTRALIA

Voice of Real Australia: Celebrate those behind the lines and pivoting to keep ahead

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Southern IML Pathology's molecular laboratory uses PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests, currently the gold standard for diagnosis of COVID-19. Picture: Adam McLean

Southern IML Pathology's molecular laboratory uses PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests, currently the gold standard for diagnosis of COVID-19. Picture: Adam McLean

You probably saw the queues in the news - around blocks, up and down highways - of people answering the call to get tested last week as Sydney's COVID-19 cases grew daily.

It was one of those rare times where queues spark at least a little joy - it meant we were taking this seriously and getting tested. Trying to stop the spread.

Behind those queues are a bunch of hard-working pathologists - working around the clock to get results back as fast as humanly possible.

I heard stories from friends of their results coming back in the wee hours of the morning - to me that was incredible. Who were these wondrous human beings toiling until all hours?

Illawarra Mercury acting editor Lisa Wachsmuth chatted to Wollongong's Southern IML Pathology staff to find out what happens in those labs under such pressure.

Southern IML patient manager Narelle McCann described last Wednesday as "extraordinary".

"We quickly extended our hours and had to call staff back in off leave to help with the queues, working past midnight to test as many people as possible," she said.

"The private providers worked with the public health system to ensure there were as many testing sites available as possible."

Another industry under pressure at the moment, for a totally different reason, is the food services industry.

Many restaurateurs greeted lockdowns with a sense of dread and inevitably.

But a stroke of genius from a daycare centre owner south of Sydney has been credited with keeping Wollongong's local eateries afloat during lockdowns.

Toria Kotamanidis created a Facebook group called Illawarra Menus which now has more than 38,000 members.

Local food businesses use the group to pop up their menus, let people know what's available for pick up or delivery, what's on special and more.

It's made all the difference in a very difficult time for the industry.

All across the country, there are stories of businesses and individuals pivoting and changing to adapt to the new rules and times around them.

These are the stories of hope in difficult times and I'm glad we can help celebrate them.

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