A REDLANDS GP has issued a frustrated message telling residents to take social distancing seriously, saying many people thought to have COVID-19 had been out in the community and unknowingly spreading the virus.
Amy Heales said she and some of her colleagues had seen patients they suspected to have coronavirus.
"Lots of them have been to the Victoria Point shops, to the gym, other places with symptoms and could have and likely have spread the virus," she said.
"Under the current criteria, we cannot test them.
"Don't wait until we have a confirmed case of community spread. It's not going to happen. What we will see is many people turning up to Redlands emergency department who can't breathe.
"This is not someone else's problem - this is ours."
Dr Heales said she was keeping her son home from child care, and urged parents who were able to keep their child home from school to do so.
She said she would not be visiting family members around the Redlands, going to the playground with her kids or popping to the shops for unnecessary items.
"My family live in the Redlands. I want them to live."
Dr Heales said working as a GP during the outbreak was indescribable.
"We had minimal training in how to deal with a pandemic at medical school, so I'm sort of just winging it and hoping I'm making a difference," she said.
"Every patient in my day had a story (or) a corona related question.
"The hardest part for me was not being able to answer them all with clear cut answers. Medicine is sometimes black and white, and sometimes medicine is grey.
"This corona thing is well and truly parked in the grey area, for a little while at least."
Her patients had included a young mum with a new baby feeling alone and isolated, a 75-year-old with no nearby family and a small business owner with worries about her income.
"I had a lady who told me all their bookings for their family-owned business had been cancelled for the coming months so they had no income.
"My patient who was already struggling with anxiety told me she was really not coping at the moment.
"One lady asked me if she should go to a funeral for a friend. I had to say no."
Dr Heales encouraged people to call their doctor and book a Telehealth consultation.
"We know people are feeling very anxious and worried at this time. Please know your doctor is there to support you, especially with any mental health concerns you are having."