Sydney man with COVID-19: ‘Self-isolate and stay calm’
A Sydney man who tested positive to coronavirus after returning home from Italy last week has urged anyone feeling unwell to stay home and stay calm in order to save lives.
Cade Turland caught one of the last flights out of Milan last Tuesday after cutting his holiday short when a small cluster of cases in the region exploded in a matter of days.
The 32-year-old has very mild symptoms but immediately travelled to rural NSW to quarantine himself, which he says is vital to stop the spread of the deadly disease to more vulnerable loved ones.
Mr Turland is bunkering down alone at his family home in the Southern Highlands, where he's been exercising and says his biggest problem is boredom.
"I'm going bonkers, I'm walking around the house trying to find stuff to do. I just fixed the taps in the shower that have been broken for 10 years," he told The Daily Telegraph.
"I was in Italy smashing pizzas so wanted to get fit and healthy again … I've got some weights down here and I've been hiking around in bushland on the property."
Staff in hazmat suits handed out surgical masks on Mr Turland's nearly empty plane home, and he developed a slight headache on the second leg arriving into Sydney from Dubai on Wednesday.
"I would have confused it with jet lag, but I had made the decision before I got home that I'm going to act like I'm infected until I'm completely cleared, and that's just purely to protect other people," he said.
"I was so f***ing scared about the coronavirus six weeks ago, before I went overseas. I was thinking 'should I cancel my trip?' and stressing out.
"Now I've got the sniffles and a light cough when I first wake up but that's it. I'm shocked I've actually got it, but I was a bit naive so hopefully I can make people feel calmer about catching it and vigilant about not spreading it."
The entrepreneur was tested on Thursday afternoon at a local pathology lab and a friend contacted him on Saturday with a link to a NSW Health webpage announcing an unidentified man Mr Turland's age had become the 110th person to be diagnosed with COVID-19 in the state.
By 2pm on Sunday Mr Turland was officially notified he had coronavirus and has praised the healthcare system's response, saying a worker has vowed to ring him every 24 to 48 hours to check on his welfare.
"I've had a lung specialist call me from my local hospital, and I had my local doctor call me because NSW Health contacted him too," he said.
In an effort to allay community fears Mr Turland has gone public on social media, answering questions from mates around the world by posting stories on his Instagram account about everything from his symptoms to his toilet paper preference.
"I've had 150 messages from people saying that they slept well last night because they realised it's not that bad," he said.
"Your brain stops functioning properly when you're scared - hence the toilet paper buying."
Mr Turland is relieved to be home from the worst-affected European country, which he says has become the pandemic's epicentre "due to complacency."
"In Italy people were sick cruising around the streets. They weren't keeling over in the street coughing but you could tell people weren't well," he said.
"Sure they may recover soon, but they're not the risk category. Unfortunately that mentality causes the spread to the elderly and people who are immunocompromised."
Mr Turland says community attitudes need to change in Australia too, and people should self isolate even if they're only feeling a little bit crook.
"It's just two weeks. Go fix some stuff in the house, send some emails, start that book you've always wanted to write - whatever. Take some personal responsibility," he said.