Despite both parents testing positive, none of the Kimmer kids have come down with COVID.


THE moral of this story is that if Melissa Kimmer of Korumburra hadn’t been given a couple of boxes of rapid antigen tests by a kindly neighbour there’s no telling how far the virus might have spread.

The other lesson, and it’s a great endorsement of the fantastic response from the Korumburra community, is: “Even if you don’t have family and friends living locally, you can really rely on the businesspeople and general community of Korumburra to help.”

That’s the happy thought Melissa has been able to come away with after her “journey with COVID” this week, but there were some dark and anxious moments along the way too.

Melissa has agreed to tell her story as a way of saying “thank you”, as she did on the Korumburra Community Page earlier this week.

But also, so that others who will inevitably go through a similar experience, might know something about what to expect.

It all started just after the New Years on a family holiday to Echuca.

“We always try to get-together with my brother and the extended family over the holidays, for the cousins to have fun together and all that, so we booked Echuca for five days,” said Melissa this week.

The family travelled up on New Year’s Day.

“We were conscious of doing all the right things and booked separate rooms from everyone else and all of the activities were outside. We mostly ate outside as well and spent time by the pool.”

The family took in all the usual attractions at Echuca, on the paddle steamer, visiting a winery, going to the inflatable water park… it was an ideal time away for Melissa, husband Ryan and the four kids; aged 14, 12, 6 and nearly 3.

“One of the family members felt a bit unwell one day and decided it was better to isolate, so we were a bit more alert about it after that,” said Melissa.

“And when we got home, we got a call to say that one of the extended family members had tested positive and we were all considered close contacts.

“My main concerns were for the kids of course, but also for my clients. I run a small business from home and see clients every day.”

Melissa couldn’t get any RAT kits herself, but a neighbour kindly provided a few boxes enabling the family to keep track.

She was negative for three days, but after developing a headache and feeling lousy later in the day, took another one and tested positive on the evening of day three.

“I contacted DHHS and told them I was positive, and they said I didn’t have to get a PCR test to confirm but we didn’t have many test kits left so Ryan and the kids tried unsuccessfully twice to get a PCR at Wonthaggi and couldn’t get in.

“The respiratory clinic at Wonthaggi helped us out with plenty of good information and said we didn’t have to save our last test kits for me to get out of isolation. A day or two later Ryan tested positive as well.

“None of the kids tested positive.”

Melissa contacted the clients she had seen earlier to be on the safe side, and they were all understanding of the situation.

“The fortunate thing was, I was due to do hair and make-up for a bridal party but had to cancel that after getting a positive on the rapid test.”

Imagine if she hadn’t got that positive!

Melissa said she’d never been bedridden before by flu and, as a gym regular and pretty fit, she expected to sail through COVID without an issue – no such luck.

“It really hit me hard.

“I felt tight in the chest and was having trouble breathing. I had a croup-like cough, a fever, and a migraine.

“Because of the symptoms, I was in contact with the Latrobe Valley Hospital, and they texted me daily. A couple of times I thought ‘if this gets any worse, I might have to go in’ but thankfully it didn’t get worse.

“But it was a lot worse than I thought it would be.

“Luckily, Ryan wasn’t as bad. He had a headache, a sore throat, and a bit of fatigue but he’s been fantastic, kept the kids going and all the rest. I don’t know how you’d go if everyone was sick.

“I isolated away from the kids in another room and took Panadol and Nurofen, which didn’t do much initially, but was OK later.

“I started to come good on the third day and I’ll be through by Friday, Ryan officially on Saturday or Sunday.”

Melissa arranged for a grocery delivery online through Woolworths at Leongatha, but when some of the supplies, especially meat, didn’t come through, Michael’s IGA came to the rescue.

“They couldn’t do enough for me. The lady I spoke to at IGA, got a pen and paper right then and wrote down my order. I paid over the phone, and it was all delivered a few hours later.

“Kelly’s Bakery too, I rang up, put in an order, and the girl I spoke to offered to drop it all off in the afternoon on her way home at 2pm. She even rang me to ask if it was alright at 2.30pm because she was running a bit late at work.

“You might say no big deal but try telling a three-year-old there’s no toast!

“The Terry White’s girls called to ask if I needed any vitamins or anything else and offered to deliver. I know I’ve got friends and family in the area who can help but this just shows you that people in business around here are prepared to go out of their way to help, even people they don’t really know.

“And no one was judgemental. Not a single person said they couldn’t do something because we had COVID.

“I feel relieved now to have come through it. The worst of it was being anxious that we’d been around COVID positive people and the responsibility of being a business owner and being around clients when you might be positive, also reaching out to people and telling them that you’d tested positive.

“But everyone was really understanding,” she said.

Melissa and Ryan have been double vaccinated and will now have to wait for at least a month to get their third dose.

The two older children have received their two doses and they’ll be looking to get the six-year-old vaccinated before the return to school.

“I haven’t made a big deal out of getting vaccinated. As a community that’s what we’ve been asked to do.”

Posted thanks on Facebook

Here’s what Melissa said on the Korumburra Community Noticeboard on Wednesday:

  • I just want to jump on here and share my gratitude for this community. After being hit pretty badly with COVID 19 I had my family and friends reach out to help myself and family in these tough times but what has been overwhelming is the small businesses of this town have gone above and beyond to help. IGA delivered within hours of me ringing, stressed that my Woolies’ order had no meat and the lovely lady didn’t hesitate to have everything I needed on my door step by the evening. Then a lovely worker from Kelly’s Bakery (who I don’t know) on her way home from work dropped off bread and the girls from Terry Whites Chemist reaching out asking if I need anything and keeping me updated on RAT tests. It doesn’t seem much but in these moments it’s these small things that have made our days easier. We are lucky to live here.


  • What an awesome community, and this is why I want to retire back in South Gippsland where I grew up. Hope you are feeling better 🙂 xx.
  • It’s also because you are a beautiful person lovely. People are happy to help good, caring souls like yourself. Thank you to everyone who helped and I hope you guys feel better asap x.
  • We had the same experience from community members, staff from work offering to drop off supplies and also Mel from Chemsave offering to deliver on her way home even though they don’t deliver. We live in a wonderful town. When you are unwell and isolating it makes you feel just that little bit better to know there are so many wonderful people who are willing to help out.