Thu. May 26th, 2022

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Have you ever wondered what it is like to live with COVID-19, based on a local Canberra family in real time? Thanks to Tanya Austen, now we know.

Tanya has become Canberra’s very own COVID celebrity and gathers a dedicated audience on social media as she updates the city on the reality of living with COVID-19.

Tanya, a young (she is only 41) and bubbling grandmother from Florey who shares her home with her husband, her adult son and daughter, her son’s partner and two grandchildren, made the decision in fourteen weeks to publish her family’s situation after her two grandchildren were unveiled at their Queanbeyan childcare center.

“I’m a pretty open person, and I thought it would be a good thing to tell the rest of society what we were going through, just so they could understand the reality of it. It feels like every time there is an outbreak, people ask if anyone has had it or if anyone knows anyone who knows someone who has had it and we all have these questions about it. Suddenly I was able to give some answers. So I felt it was the right thing to do. ”

After consulting with her family to make sure everyone felt comfortable, Tanya joined the Canberra Noticeboard Group (with nearly 95,000 members) and posted that her two young grandchildren, Dakota, 3, and Ellie-Rose, 4, had tested positive. Every day since, she has mapped out the family’s journey – some of the good and some of the bad.

The good parts include the two girls who have minimal symptoms and their usual high energy levels. A scary bit was when her son and his partner both tested positive; her son’s partner, an asthmatic, then spent two days in the hospital as a precaution when her symptoms worsened.

Ellie-Rose and Dakota were unveiled at their Queanbeyan child care center.

Day seven of the virus revealed that Tanya herself had tested positive “Down the rabbit hole we go, Groundhog Day, Grandma is Covid positive. Day zero starts all over again! She wrote on the bulletin board.

Tanya praises her dual vaccination status for giving her very minimal symptoms and said she has only experienced very 48 hours of very mild fluey feelings and a slight loss of taste.

Her husband and her children had booked their vaccination meetings in the coming weeks.

“I did not expect to be a public advocate for the vaccination – but it did absolutely everything it needed to and I feel just fine. I would say that I am optional, but I would also say that if you do not want to take the vaccine, it should be for a very good reason and you should be properly educated about it and not just follow the crowd.

“Having COVID in your house is a very, very scary thing, and once it’s in your house, it’s too late to make the decision to get vaccinated. COVID is deadly. It’s a scary position to be in. ”

Tanya also expressed pride in the ACT’s highest national average vaccination rate.

“I am so proud of our vaccination rates. In order for our society to regain a sense of normality, we must all be vaccinated. ”

Meanwhile, her ability to deliver a real-time COVID diary to the rest of society has had certain benefits, not least the wave of compassion, concern and support from strangers.

Tanya Austen giving Canberra details about her family’s journey through Covid.

“Honestly, it’s been a little overwhelming to get hundreds of responses from people every day and to have so many private messages with people asking me specific questions and everyone being so kind.”

Mainstream media has also taken up the story, giving the family national exposure. It makes her think it was the right thing to do.

It has also given the outgoing Food and Beverage Manager at the Australian National University greater connection with the outside world during her time of enforced quarantine.

“I have loved having contact with people as I am usually a very busy person who works up to 60 hours a week and loves to interact with others so it has helped me stay connected and sensible to some degree! “

Tanya is now up on day 10 of the diary and she knows people are waiting for her updates so she usually writes when the little ones need to have their nap.

“I know there are people out there who follow closely, so I try to provide as much information as possible in a humorous way and to be honest. So many people have appreciated the information and have been curious. ”

Tanya also praises ACT Health Workers, who have been a regular part of the family life and who have provided so much support and guidance.

“We call them all superheroes in robes. I can not say enough about how great they have been. ”

And when her family finally gets it all ready to get out of their COVID journey, Tanya says that what she is most looking forward to is the simplest.

“I can’t wait to take the girls to the park and let them play a big game and see other people.”

And for Tanya herself, returning to work will truly be a blessed day.

“I love my job and I love what I do and I love to be busy… I have tried to get the most out of home, bake and play with the girls and enjoy the sun… But I can not wait to come back to normal life and enjoy my job every day. ”

You can follow Tanya and her family’s journey here.

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