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Healthy Royal Melbourne Hospital nurse Emily Morris shares the unusual COVID-19 symptom

A young, fit and healthy nurse has revealed she suffered from an unusual symptom before testing positive for COVID-19.

Emily Morris, who works in the emergency department at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, said she felt a strange pain in her lower legs a week and a half ago.

Despite working on her feet for hours on end, the 32-year-old told ABC’s 7.30 Report the aching was different to what she’s ever experienced.

‘I was at work when I developed some aching to my lower legs and I spoke to my manager and she got me tested straight away,’ she said.

Common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, dry cough and tiredness while aches and pains are less common, in which Ms Morris experienced in her case.

Ms Morris said she self-isolated herself until she got her result 24 hours later, which confirmed she had coronavirus.

‘I was absolutely devastated. I think that as a health care worker, there is a little bit of shame and stigma around being diagnosed as COVID positive,’ she said.

‘I’m young, I’m fit, I’m healthy. I was doing the right things and I got coronavirus.’

Ms Morris is among more than 700 frontline workers in Victoria who have tested positive for COVID-19 since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

She is now isolating in a government apartment so she doesn’t risk exposing herself to her housemates.

‘I feel terrible. I haven’t felt like eating and have difficulty keeping down fluids,’ she said.

The nurse – who worked directly with COVID-positive patients – said she suspects she contracted the virus in the community.

‘I work in the respiratory emergency department, which means that I wear an N95 mask. Then on top of that, I wear a face shield, hair coverings as well as a full length gown,’ she said.

‘Considering the high quality of the PPE that we have and the procedures that we have in place, I am very certain that this was a community acquired transmission.’

By sharing her story, she wanted to urge Australians to follow social distancing measures, wash hands regularly and wear a mask in public to minimise the spread of COVID-19, especially in light of the recent surge in cases in Victoria.

‘The discomfort that you think you feel wearing [a mask] does not compare to the discomfort that you will experience if you test COVID-positive,’ Ms Morris warned in a video posted on social media. 

‘[To] become short of breath that even walking from the couch to the toilet is a mammoth effort.

‘Wear a mask, wash your hands, engage in social distancing. There is nothing more inconvenient and uncomfortable than catching corona. 

‘I can tell you. I know from experience.’

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