A four-week-old baby has been tested for coronavirus after being treated by an infected doctor at a children’s hospital.
Oliver Tyson, who is just 28 days old, is especially vulnerable to the virus as his lungs are weak after being born prematurely.
He was rushed to Perth Children’s Hospital on March 21 with a congested chest and blocked nose – and was treated by a doctor who later tested positive for COVID-19.
His parents, Michelle Chilton and Luke Tyson, were told the alarming news on Saturday and Oliver was immediately tested.
But five days later, they have still heard nothing back.
‘They have told us nothing about the doctor or how likely it is he infected Oliver,’ Mr Tyson told Daily Mail Australia.
‘The lack of information has been the hardest part.’
Oliver Tyson (pictured) was rushed into hospital on March 21 after suffering with a compressed chest, but came into contact with a doctor who later tested positive for COVID-19
Michelle (pictured, centre) with her son Kye (left) and partner Luke (right) now face an agonising wait for results
He said the family have heard little from WA Health since taking the test at their local hospital in Kondinin, 300km east of Perth, on Saturday.
‘It’s been nail biting that’s for sure,’ the worried dad said.
‘I rang the health service today and got the run around on who I needed to speak to. Eventually I got through to the right people and they told me it was being processed.’
The family were told the test was being sent off on Saturday, but because of their remote location, it wasn’t sent until Monday.
Little Oliver is thought to be one of the youngest Australians to be tested for the deadly respiratory disease, which has infected nearly 5,000 people nationwide.
‘Keep your families close at this crazy time,’ Mr Tyson added.
Little Oliver’s parents are now desperately waiting for results of his COVID-19 test, with hopes the infant (pictured) will get the all-clear
Oliver’s mum, Michelle Chilton (pictured) begged other Australians to take social distancing seriously, as she nervously awaits her baby son’s COVID-19 test results
‘If people just did the right thing we would get rid of this horrible virus and move forward into the future.
‘If our message can spare one family the heartache of what we are going through, then it’s worth it.’
His partner Ms Chilton also issued a desperate plea to Australians to abide by social distancing rules.
The family had already made the decision to take their other children out of school, meaning they had not exposed others to the virus.
‘Luckily we had already made the call to pull the big boys out of school due to three of us being immunocompromised,’ she posted online.
‘Should Oliver’s results come back positive, we may well have spared another family the agonising wait of finding out or worse, having to go through the heartache of dealing with COVID-19.
Oliver Tyson (pictured) is being tested for coronavirus after being treated by a doctor at Perth Children’s Hospital who later tested positive for the disease
Oliver went to be looked at at Perth Children’s Hospital (pictured) as he was too young to be seen at their local emergency department
‘I think this just goes to show, however, that you can take all the measures to protect your family but sometimes the outcome unfortunately remains in the hands of others.
‘Stay home people. None of us are immune to this. It could be your family.’
Ms Chilton said she received a terrifying phone call this week confirming the doctor who treated her baby son had tested positive for COVID-19.
‘We got a phone call yesterday to inform us that the doctor who treated our little Oliver at Perth Children’s Hospital on the night of the 21st has tested positive to COVID-19,’ she said.
‘We were already isolating ourselves at home but have been placed in lockdown by the health department and are awaiting the results to Oliver’s swabs.’
Ms Chilton (pictured) said she received a terrifying phone call this week confirming the doctor who treated her baby son had tested positive for COVID-19
Oliver (pictured) was born prematurely, so his lungs are not as strong as other babies, making him potentially more vulnerable to the virus
CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA: 4,862
New South Wales: 2,182
Western Australia: 392
South Australia: 367
Australian Capital Territory: 84
Northern Territory: 19
TOTAL CASES: 4,862
The male doctor worker had been treating patients before showing symptoms and being tested.
Patients who presented at Perth Children’s Hospital’s emergency department from March 7 to March 22 may have been exposed, with parents being contacted by officials.
Oliver’s father said the newborn was doing well, but still struggling at night.
‘His going alright,’ he said.
‘He gets blocked up in the cool night air and is restless.
‘But we are taking his temperature a few times a day and keeping a close eye on him.’
In New South Wales, the youngest confirmed cases are a two-month-old baby and a seven-year-old child.
As of Wednesday night, Australia has 4.862 confirmed cases of COVID-19, which has caused 21 deaths across the country so far – but none among children or young adults
A one-year-old in Queensland also has the virus.
In Victoria, three babies under 12 months and a one-year-old have been diagnosed.
Despite these cases, none of Australia’s 21 COVID-19 deaths have been among children or young adults.
Doctors are still working out why kids generally appear to be spared by the virus, although some deaths among children have occurred overseas.
Australia’s chief medical officer Dr Brendan Murphy said it was ‘unusual’ when compared to influenza.
‘We don’t know whether children might be getting the disease but [their symptoms] are so mild they are not being picked up, or they’re not becoming sick, or whether they are somehow less susceptible,’ he said.
Professor Robert Booy from the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance said children abroad only seemed to suffer mild symptoms, ABC reported.
‘Those children who did contract the virus overseas have only had mild symptoms such as fever and upper respiratory symptoms,’ he said.
‘In adults, they are reacting quite violently because perhaps they have seen a previous coronavirus infection and that’s set up the immune system to react inappropriately and excessively.’
A mother is seen outside a Chemist Warehouse store in Sydney having her temperature checked on Tuesday (pictured)
A portable oxygen respirator in a coronavirus isolation room at Cabrini private hospital in Melbourne (pictured) with healthcare workers preparing for more cases
It comes as Australia’s number of confirmed cases of the deadly respiratory infection rose to 4,862, with 21 people dead.
Tough new social distancing restrictions came into place this week to help combat the spread, with basic freedoms such as being able to see family, friends, boyfriends and girlfriends severely curtailed.
But states and territories are each enforcing the national cabinet’s rules to slow the spread of coronavirus differently – meaning what liberties a person has depends upon where they live.
The rules allow New South Wales residents to visit their boyfriend or girlfriend even if they don’t live at the same home.
Travellers in face masks at Adelaide airport on Wednesday (pictured) with arrivals from overseas forced into a mandatory 14-day quarantine
A man walks near a sign in Sydney on Tuesday (pictured) with instructions about social distancing following the implementation of stricter rules to limit the spread of the coronavirus
But Victorians were told they could not – until Wednesday night when the state’s chief medical officer, Dr Brett Sutton, said the state will make an exemption.
Residents of NSW, Queensland, Victoria, Western Australia and Tasmania are banned from going outside with more than one person without a lawful excuse.
They cannot go out purely for social reasons or have friends over.
Meanwhile, populations of lesser-populated South Australia and the Northern Territory are still allowed to gather with up to 10 other people.
Beaches in population hot spots such as Bondi and Brighton have closed, but Australians are still exercising and swimming at deserted beaches.
Crowds of sunbathers are spotted on the rocks at Mackenzies Bay in Sydney’s east on Tuesday (pictured) despite social distancing rules
‘WAR-TIME EFFORT’ NEEDED FOR FACE MASK PRODUCTION
Australian sewers are rallying in a wartime effort to help give frontline medical staff enough face masks amid the coronavirus.
NSW aged-care service provider Maroba has asked the government for advice on a pattern and fabric for masks that can be run up for their staff.
‘When this hit us early, we ordered another month’s supply up front. Now we can’t get any more supplies,’ Maroba chief executive officer Viv Allanson told AAP on Tuesday.
‘We’ve got a whole group of women out there that have sewing machines that are ready to get working for us.
‘This is like wartime, where the women of Australia rallied and did their bit.’
While many Australians have been praised for abiding by social distancing, shocking footage has emerged of backpackers dangerously flouting the rules.
A group of young European partygoers was filmed ignoring all COVID-19 social distancing rules as they crammed together for a barbecue in a Bondi apartment.
The footage taken on Tuesday night shows men and women aged in their 20s crowded in a backyard and adjoining loungeroom as they drink, smoke and laugh.
They appear to be alarmed when they realise they are being filmed by a neighbour as several of them alert the others in Spanish they have been busted.
The man who took the video told Daily Mail Australia: ‘I asked them if they thought this was a joke and that coronavirus is serious.’
‘I brought information about coronavirus to them and they just didn’t care.’
A group of young European partygoers was filmed ignoring all COVID-19 social distancing rules as they crammed together for a barbecue in a Bondi apartment on Tuesday night
Despite such incidents, Australia has seen a significant slowdown in the spread of the virus in recent days.
Rates of infection have dropped in, with just a 9.4 per cent increase in cases on Sunday, compared to 26.2 per cent on March 22.
The figures are the first signs the coronavirus curve may be flattening across the country.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said on Tuesday the slowdown was a ‘significant achievement’.
Healthcare worker Vanessa Chang poses for a photo in the coronavirus screening clinic at Cabrini private hospital in Melbourne (pictured) as it prepares for more patients
‘That’s an achievement to which all Australians have contributed,’ Mr Hunt said in Canberra.
‘This progress is early, it’s significant, but now, with these additional rules around gatherings and movement, we are going the next step to help reduce again the level of infection, and to support our containment.’
But Professor Raina Macintyre from the Kirby Institute at the UNSW – a global body dedicated to preventing infectious diseases – suggested it would still be many months before life is returned to normal.
She said all Australians had a role to play in reducing that time frame.
‘Avoid the handshaking and the hugging, just try to practice that social distancing,’ she said in a video for the Australian Academy of Science on Tuesday.
‘And get into a mental space where you can actually accept that you have to change the way that you live because this epidemic will be taking off in the next few weeks.
‘It’s going to get worse before it gets better.
WILL WINTER MAKE IT HARDER TO BATTLE COVID-19?
While not yet upon us, the Australian winter might make fighting COVID-19 harder again, says one of country’s leading infectious disease experts.
Although flu’s peak time is June to August, it’s potentially worrying that we’ve already seen widespread coronavirus infection while it’s still warm, according to Adelaide University professor Michael Beard.
‘So what’s going to happen in winter? It could be worse,’ he told AAP.
‘We just don’t know, but there are some concerns.’
One is that the saliva and mucus droplets we cough up and sneeze out are smaller in winter, which means they more deeply penetrate the lungs of anyone who breath them in. It’s not good news if they’re infected.
Face masks have become a regular sight in Australia, with people wearing them to protect from the virus (pictured, a woman in Sydney on March 17)
Mucus is 98 per cent water so if it’s instead allowed to dry out, it can produce that crusty kind of nasal obstruction we’re all occasionally familiar with, which also allows pathogens to get trapped in our airways.
One place that’s most likely to happen is inside during a winter’s day with heaters blasting or fires roaring.
Outdoors in the cold, however, the nose and lungs can also have a decreased response to virus infection. So that could be another potential problem.
Prof Beard says perhaps his main concern moving into the Australian winter is “how this coronavirus is going to interface with influenza virus infection.
‘I would urge people to get their flu vaccinations.’
The coronavirus could become harder to battle as winter sets in (pictured, a woman wearing a mask in front of Sydney Opera House on March 13)
Complicating matters, pandemics often don’t follow normal seasonal outbreak patterns. The Spanish flu (1918-1920), for example, peaked during summer.
However, researchers at the University of Maryland have found the worst COVID-19 eruptions so far have been clustered in a narrow band across the Northern Hemisphere that has consistently similar weather and takes in China, South Korea, Japan, Iran, Italy, France and the US Pacific Northwest.
‘It couldn’t have been bad luck that these particular places were hit,’ project spokesman Mohammad Sajadi told the Wall Street Journal last week.
‘This virus is acting like a seasonal respiratory virus. We could be wrong but with the data we have, we think that is the most likely scenario.’