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Musician, 27, with severe asthma reveals how a ‘tickle’ turned into positive coronavirus diagnosis

A 27-year-old asthmatic who contracted coronavirus while travelling overseas says  a ‘little tickle in the throat’ turned into a ‘terrifying’ ordeal that left her fearing for her life. 

Samantha Demmler, 27, tested positive to COVID-19 after returning to Melbourne from the U.S. on Friday, March 20. 

‘It was a massive shock to me [the positive test results] and it was pretty emotional. The Friday and Saturday, even most of the Sunday I was feeling so well,’ she told Daily Mail Australia. 

‘It didn’t seem I had this thing that was causing the whole world to stop. For my friends it was more concerning because they know my history with asthma. With anyone that’s got prior respiratory problems it’s terrifying. 

‘I’m a pretty optimistic person but I started to panic. It definitely catches up to you. Your mind starts thinking and playing scenarios on what could happen.’

Samantha Demmler, 27, tested positive to COVID-19 after returning to Melbourne from America on Friday March 20. She is pictured with flowers after her recovery

Ms Demmler (left) is picured with Australian actress and model Nicky Whelan

Ms Demmler (left) is picured with Australian actress and model Nicky Whelan

Ms Demmler said she had a 'little tickle in the throat' when she boarded her flight from Houston to Los Angeles and then on to Melbourne

Ms Demmler said she had a ‘little tickle in the throat’ when she boarded her flight from Houston to Los Angeles and then on to Melbourne

Ms Demmler said she had a ‘little tickle in the throat’ when she boarded her flight from Houston to Los Angeles and then on to Melbourne. 

She said her condition worsened in the air and other passengers had been coughing throughout the long-haul flight.   

‘I got in the taxi and went straight home. I pretty much put my suitcase upstairs and then got in my car and drove straight to The Alfred Hospital,’ she said.

‘They tested me pretty much immediately. It was the next day they had called me like five times to tell me that I was positive.’

Ms Demmler – who is a singer and songwriter under the stage name Samara – said health authorities told her to isolate immediately.    

The 27-year-old – a severe asthmatic who has had pneumonia five times, said her symptoms changed rapidly. 

From day one to three she had a ‘tickle’ in her throat and a cough began to develop.   

‘Day three, day four is when I went downhill,’ Ms Demmler said.

‘I never had a fever, not once, but I got severe fatigue to the point I’d be attempting to wash my hair in the shower and I just felt I was going to black out.

‘I had the most severe sinus headaches I’ve had in my life. The next day would follow with a runny nose. The symptoms would change so rapidly.’ 

Ms Demmler said she lost all smell and taste by about day five.  

Ms Demmler said her coronavirus diagnosis was an 'emotional' time. It came after he father died in December. Pictured: Her parents Deboarh and Rodney Demmler at their wedding

Ms Demmler said her coronavirus diagnosis was an ’emotional’ time. It came after he father died in December. Pictured: Her parents Deboarh and Rodney Demmler at their wedding

Ms Demmler, who is a severe asthmatic and has had pneumonia five times, said her symptoms changed rapidly

Ms Demmler, who is a severe asthmatic and has had pneumonia five times, said her symptoms changed rapidly

From day one to three she had a tickle in her throat and a cough began to develop. By day five, the 27-year-old said she lost her smell and taste

From day one to three she had a tickle in her throat and a cough began to develop. By day five, the 27-year-old said she lost her smell and taste

‘I couldn’t taste raw ginger, I couldn’t smell vicks, nothing. It was horrific,’ she said.

‘I’ve had pneumonia five times and I’m a severe asthmatic as well. I’ve been through sicknesses and I’ve never had anything lose all my taste and smell like that for such a long period of time.’ 

The musician said she only struggled slightly with her breathing at night. 

Ms Demmler posted about her COVID-19 diagnosis on Instagram.

Ms Demmler said she has been 'really lucky' throughout the illness and recovery, thanks to a 'great support network'. She released her new single 'Pull Up' on Friday (pictured)

Ms Demmler said she has been ‘really lucky’ throughout the illness and recovery, thanks to a ‘great support network’. She released her new single ‘Pull Up’ on Friday (pictured)

She was cleared by authorities on March 29 after they called to check over her symptoms. Ms Demmler said it was concerning as it was the first time they had phoned to check-in following the diagnosis.

‘I live on my own, both of my parents are deceased, I have a history of asthma, I’ve had pneumonia before,’ she said.

‘It’s disappointing no one contacted me. If something had have gone wrong, no one’s going to know.

‘I only recently lost my dad to cancer in December so it’s been an emotional rollercoaster for me in the last few months.’

'I've been on Skype calls to songwriters and producers in Los Angeles. That's been kind of the thing that's kept me really positive throughout it,' Ms Demmler said

‘I’ve been on Skype calls to songwriters and producers in Los Angeles. That’s been kind of the thing that’s kept me really positive throughout it,’ Ms Demmler said

'It's the thing I love. I live for my music. It [coronavirus] gave me time to focus on that,' she said. The 27-year-old is pictured in a mask with a keyboard

‘It’s the thing I love. I live for my music. It [coronavirus] gave me time to focus on that,’ she said. The 27-year-old is pictured in a mask with a keyboard

Ms Demmler’s mother died in February 2014 after a 15-year battle with breast and bone cancer. 

After her experience battling coronavirus, Ms Demmler urged health authorities to do ‘as much testing as possible’ to combat its spread.

‘One of the hardest things for me is that every single person has different symptoms which is quite scary,’ she said.

‘There are people who have coughs and colds that live in big households, or are still working but just think it’s a really basic cold. 

CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA: 5,795

New South Wales: 2,637

Victoria: 1,158

Queensland: 921

Western Australia: 460

South Australia: 409

Australian Capital Territory: 96

Tasmania: 86

Northern Territory: 28

TOTAL CASES:  5,795

RECOVERED: 2,315 

DEAD: 41

‘There are people out there attending beaches in large groups of people. Anything capable of causing death and severe long-term changes to how we live and work has to be taken seriously. 

‘If we all just do the right thing and stay home, follow the rules, we’ll recover a lot quicker.’

Ms Demmler said she has been ‘really lucky’ throughout the illness and recovery, thanks to a ‘great support network’.

She released her new single ‘Pull Up’ on Friday.  

‘I’ve been on Skype calls to songwriters and producers in Los Angeles. That’s been kind of the thing that’s kept me really positive throughout it,’ Ms Demmler said.

‘It’s the thing I love. I live for my music. It [coronavirus] gave me time to focus on that. 

‘The fact that I went through what I did and pushed through recovery and I still kept working on my music, a lot of people want to hear that because it gives them a little bit of inspiration.

‘They don’t have to sit at home, a lot can be done in four walls.’

There are 5,795 confirmed cases of coronavirus across Australia and 41 people have died. 

‘I nearly DIED’: Hire car driver who picked up a coronavirus-infected Ruby Princess passenger fumes at decision to let 3,000 disembark after she was struck down with the deadly bug

A hire car driver who contracted COVID-19 after picking up an infected Ruby Princess passenger has lashed out from hospital after she ‘almost died’ from the virus.

Julie Lamrock drove a passenger from Circular Quay to Campbelltown, in Sydney’s west, on March 19, when authorities made the disastrous decision to let nearly 3,000 passengers disembark without health checks. 

An 84-year-old man who died in Perth on Monday is one of 12 fatalities among Ruby Princess passengers, with more than 600 infected. 

Ms Lamrock, who is receiving treatment at Nepean Hospital, said she struggles to breathe and is suffering hot sweats after testing positive to coronavirus.

Julie Lamrock (pictured) contracted COVID-19 after picking up an infected Ruby Princess passenger

Julie Lamrock (pictured) contracted COVID-19 after picking up an infected Ruby Princess passenger

Ms Lamrock drove a passenger named Helen from the Overseas Passenger Terminal at Circular Quay to Campbelltown, in Sydney's western suburbs, on March 19. Pictured: The Ruby Princess cruise docked at Port Kembla on Monday

Ms Lamrock drove a passenger named Helen from the Overseas Passenger Terminal at Circular Quay to Campbelltown, in Sydney’s western suburbs, on March 19. Pictured: The Ruby Princess cruise docked at Port Kembla on Monday

‘After picking her up and taking her home. Looking after her and now I’m sick in hospital, I nearly died,’ Ms Lamrock told Nine News.

The driver said she did not touch her passenger during the one-hour journey, except to pack the woman’s bag into the car.

Ms Lamrock, who is receiving treatment at Nepean Hospital, said she can't breathe properly and is suffering hot sweats after testing positive to coronavirus

Ms Lamrock, who is receiving treatment at Nepean Hospital, said she can’t breathe properly and is suffering hot sweats after testing positive to coronavirus

‘She said to me there was no reports of anyone being sick on the ship, that everyone was fine,’ Ms Lamrock said. 

Ms Lamrock claimed the woman had letters on her to say that everything was ‘okay’.

The Ruby Princess cruise ship is now docked in Port Kembla, south of Sydney, as a criminal investigation into 622 COVID-19 cases and at least 12 deaths begins. 

The investigation led by the NSW Police homicide squad aims to find out why passengers were allowed to disembark from the ship in Sydney on March 19 and disperse around the country despite concerns some might have contracted the illness.

It will cover the actions of the port authority, ambulance, police, NSW Health and ship operator Carnival Australia.

The ship is expected to spend up to 10 days in Port Kembla as its 1,040 crew members undergo medical assessments, treatment or emergency extractions.

Ms Lamrock said she did not touch her passenger during the one-hour journey, except to pack the woman's bag into the car

Ms Lamrock said she did not touch her passenger during the one-hour journey, except to pack the woman’s bag into the car

About 200 of them have symptoms of the illness. Two of the crew members were taken off the ship yesterday for further treatment. 

Ms Lamrock questioned why he holidaymakers were allowed to disembark the cruise in Sydney. 

‘It’s incredible the government let them come off that ship and let other people get sick like me, who had no reason to be sick,’ she said.

New South Wales has the highest amount of coronavirus infections across the country with 2,637 and 19 deaths.

Forty-one people in Australia have died and the total number of cases was at 5,795 on Monday.  

 



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