REVELATIONS on Friday that a doctor who had been working at Bathurst Base Hospital had tested positive to COVID-19 starkly illustrated the risks this virus poses for the community's frontline workers.
Western NSW Local Health District did not go into details of how the doctor may have become exposed to the coronavirus but the positive result, and its fallout, will inevitably create even greater challenges for the local hospital.
Naturally, the affected doctor is now off work and unable to contribute (for now) to the massive operation being waged by local, state and federal health resources in combatting COVID-19.
But other staff who came into contact with the doctor during the likely infectious period have also been asked to self-quarantine pending daily wellness checks.
Health officials have not said how many staff that might be but, right now, it's a matter of all hands on deck in our hospitals.
And every worker unable to sign on for their shift just makes winning this war more difficult. But there are no alternatives here.
NSW Health has no choice but to ask those staff to stay away, for their own health and the health of other staff and patients at the hospital.
And it is inevitable that more health workers will also become infected - whether here or elsewhere across the Central West - and, in each case, staff who have come in close contact with them will also be quarantined.
That is why "flattening the curve" has become 2020's buzz phrase. It's only by slowing the spread of the virus and reducing the impact on health services that our system can hope to survive.
Health workers on the frontline are already stretched and they know they're at risk each time they go to work.
As a community we owe it to them to not to make their jobs any harder than they need to be.