Dr Lily Fraser talks about catching Covid-19

By Marena Mane

Dr Lily Fraser, a GP and clinical director of Turuki Healthcare in Auckland, has caught Covid-19 after caring for her virus-infected patients in South Auckland though she doesn't think that's how she caught it.

Fraser no Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Māmoe and Waitaha says she started to feel exhausted, short of breath, and coughing, prompting her to have a swab done, which was positive

“I have a swab every week. So we do surveillance swabs at Turuki routinely and it was negative the week before.”

Fraser says her symptoms have been mild, which she attributes to the fact that she has been completely vaccinated.

“I do have asthma, so I think that was always a worry for me that maybe my breathlessness would be a problem but it hasn't been,” she says.

Fraser says that despite being completely vaccinated and with the type of mahi she does, she feels she did not get Covid from her mahi since she works in the green zone and had no contact with cases.

Store visit

“I went to the Chemist Warehouse on the day that there was a case - it's possible that that's where I picked it up.”

Fraser says she knows others her age who were properly vaccinated, yet acquired Covid and developed considerably more serious symptoms, but she says, “I do think that the vaccination has really changed my experience of having Covid.”

Fraser says the public health system was very involved when her test came back positive but that she was already well aware of where she had travelled because she works at Turuki, which has strong safety requirements.

“Thankfully it hasn't had an impact on our patients or our staff at Turuki because you know, we're meeting those high standards.”

Isolating at home

Fraser says she is a member of the national advisory group for managing Covid at home, so she is familiar with the hazards and help needed.

“I'm really well resourced in terms of being able to do my shopping online and having friends and whānau around who are willing to drop things off when I need, it so I haven't had any issues in terms of staying home.”

The major lesson Fraser wants to get through to people who are isolated with Covid is that if they need something, they should phone and not wait for others to come to them, due to the system being overwhelmed.

“We're still waiting for GPs to be able to pick up this mahi and actually look after their own patients. And so at the moment, they don't really have the capacity to do the mahi that's out there.”

Fraser claims that because her whare has only three people, she is able to isolate herself from the rest of her whanau. However, she recognises that with larger families, this can be difficult to coordinate and that isolation in a MIQ facility is preferable and that having control over symptoms is crucial.

Turuki understands its whānau best, so they're working hard to obtain same-day test results, contacting them directly, and ensuring they have access to essentials, even if it means staff has to go buy things for their patients, she says.

“If people are going to leave their house to get those things, we'd rather actually make sure that we can provide them so that they remain safe.”