Working in Wollongong Hospital's busy emergency department is always demanding, but never as fraught with danger as in current times.
Health workers like Professor Kate Curtis - who works in the ED and acts as a clinical nurse consultant for the local health district - have seen the way the COVID-19 has played out across the globe, in hard-hit countries like Italy, the UK and US. They've seen how it's affected not only patients, but those tasked to care for them. And they're keen to make sure history doesn't repeat here.
"There has been a lot of fear and anxiety among staff," Prof Curtis said.
"We've seen what's happening to our colleagues internationally - and that's what we want to avoid.
"We want to keep our patients safe and we want to keep ourselves and our families safe. That includes our families at home, and our families at work.
"Because working in the ED is like being part of a family - you and your colleagues share some of the most horrendous situations together so you have a special bond.
"At times like these you work harder to support each other, to look out for each other's physical and mental health and well-being."
We still have some members of the public coming in intoxicated, who've been at a party or gathering. These people are not just putting us at risk, but the whole community at risk.
Prof Curtis is encouraged by the flattening of the curve in Australia, and locally. And she's thankful for strict measures imposed by governments - and local hospitals - to minimise the spread of the deadly virus. In the emergency department much has changed.
"The basic emergency principles stay the same - making sure airway, breathing and circulation is working," she said. "But the way we do that has changed.
"We have to make sure we are protected by using the right protective equipment, at the right time. And we need to make sure our patients are protected by monitoring those who come in, by moving patients into different areas and separating any who may be a COVID risk, and by changing the way we perform procedures."
Temperature checks are taken at the entry, and questionnaires filled out to assess risk. Lines have literally been drawn in the ED waiting room to ensure people maintain a safe distance from each other, and many seats are blocked off so people cannot sit close to each other.
Most patients have been reassured by the stringent measures, only a minority cause issues.
"On the whole people are compliant and reassured that we are screening everyone," Prof Curtis said.
Read more: Can the cover-up be worse than the crime?
"But we still have some members of the public coming in intoxicated, who've been at a party or gathering. These people are not just putting us at risk, but the whole community at risk."
People are advised to ring ahead to special COVID assessment clinics and to alert hospital staff if there's a COVID risk, yet Prof Curtis doesn't want these precautions to deter anyone from seeking urgent help.
"We don't want people to be afraid of coming to the ED - people still have heart attacks and strokes and get injured," she said. "We're set up so we can manage that, while working to keep patients and staff safe from the COVID threat."
Prof Curtis maintains that she and her colleagues are "just doing their job" and are not heroes. Yet they have taken heart from community sentiment and support.
"It is hard work. It's not a sedentary job and having to wear gloves and face shields and goggles can be uncomfortable. Yet there's people and businesses who are sending meals to ED staff and that's just brilliant for morale - knowing that the community cares."