Had a Covid test lately? With Omicron running rampant, the answer is probably yes. Queenie Colquhoun reports on the frontline workers – who you wouldn’t recognise because they were masked up – who have been on the frontline of the pandemic.


Since the pandemic began in March of 2020 so many of us have suffered fatigue. If you think you had it bad, spare a thought for some of the frontline workers.

For Matthew Wilson, a respiratory collector at Laverty Pathology, fatigue has been a constant, but he’s been able to stay resilient thanks to the great people he has met on the job.

Matthew has been working in his role since the Avalon outbreak in January 2021 and has worked in several locations throughout Sydney since.

He was spurred to work as a respiratory collector as he watched the Avalon cluster begin and wanted to assist the community during the difficult period. He was also drawn to the job due to his desire to gain practical experience in the medical field.

“Working during a pandemic isn’t always easy as the demands change daily, but the positive interactions with patients and fellow collectors make every day enjoyable. I would say I have stayed resilient due to the supportive team we get to work with,” says Matthew.

“There hasn’t been a time that I’ve wished I didn’t come into work because I know that I work with such positive people that support and keep me motivated.”

For the most part, Matthew says that the public have been great to deal with, and incredibly understanding of the difficulty of his job. Although Matthew says he wishes people knew just how long he and his peers worked during their shifts.

Whilst respiratory collectors are involved in the COVID-19 protection process, they don’t hold all the answers.

“We as respiratory collectors are front line workers who are always questioned about many things that we do not have answers to such as vaccinations but are always questioned about it,” he says.

“I would also like to say that all respiratory collectors including myself understand how frustrating and difficult this pandemic can be and we are all doing our best to help you to the best of our ability.”

Working in a safe and pleasant environment with great co-workers and excellent managers and supervisors who work hard, Matthew says it’s easy to be inspired and motivated.

When things begin to return to normal Matthew hopes to continue his career at Laverty Pathology as a phlebotomist.

He thanks his employers and his co-workers for creating the atmosphere to fuel his ambitions, recognising that – for him – something positive has come out of the pandemic disruptions.