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Even Covid-19 can’t keep city couple apart


The 57-year-old woman said that she and her 58-year-old husband are currently living under new, “adjusted” conditions after they found out that he had contracted the virus.

File Picture: John Cairns/ University of Oxford via AP)

NOT EVEN Covid-19 could separate a Kimberely couple after one of them tested positive for the coronavirus.

The 57-year-old woman said that she and her 58-year-old husband are currently living under new, “adjusted” conditions after they found out that he had contracted the virus.

She said that her husband was rushed to hospital after he collapsed at work. The woman indicated that they had both been tested about a week earlier at Floors Clinic.

“We went to test ourselves at Floors Clinic on July 7, after our daughter-in-law, who is a health worker at one of the private hospitals, tested positive. We had been in contact with her, so as a precaution my husband and I went to test ourselves. We were not sick and didn’t have any symptoms at the time. I received my test results on July 12 but we did not receive my husband’s results. We did not even think at the time that there was a possibility that one of us could have contracted the virus.” 

She said her husband started showing mild flu-like symptoms.

“My husband was supposed to go to work on Monday, July 13, but he did not go as he did not feel well. On July 15 he started getting worse and went to the doctor. He was coughing, had a fever and did not have any appetite. He indicated to the doctor that he had already tested for Covid-19 and was awaiting his results. The doctor booked him off from duty for two days and gave him some medicine.” 

She said her husband returned to work at the beginning of this week.

“My husband went to work on Monday, July 20. I could see he was not fully recovered but he insisted on going back to work. His lips and face were very pale and he also had a temperature. He left the house after 7am and I was concerned about him but let him go anyway.”

She said she got a call from her husband’s work that he had collapsed.

“His boss called me saying that it seemed that my husband had a heart attack. The boss said my husband grabbed his chest and was struggling to breathe before he collapsed. The ambulance rushed him to Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital. I was in shock and tried to contact my children but kept calling the wrong number. 

“At the time I did not even think about Covid-19. My son rushed over to the house and told me that my husband’s employer had called him as well.

“We rushed to the hospital but were denied access because of the new Covid-19 regulations. My greatest concern was whether my husband was able to talk or convey any information to the doctors.” 

She said that she and her son waited at the hospital in the hope that they would be allowed to see her husband. Her husband was later discharged and the doctor told her that her husband had tested positive for Covid-19.

“I was shocked to hear that he had contracted the virus. I told the doctor that it was not possible as I had received my results and they were negative. I told the doctor that we had been together, sleeping in one room, even though we had not yet received his results,” she said.

The woman said that when doctors had explained that they should isolate from each other, they had refused.

“The doctor advised that my husband should stay alone in a room and I had to leave his food and anything else he needed at the door. I told the doctor that I would not treat him like an animal. This is the man I have been married to for 36 years and now they want to separate us.”

She added, however, that her attitude had started to change as her fears about the virus increased.

“We decided that he would sleep in the main bedroom and I slept in one of the other rooms. I was so afraid that he would infect me that I would grab my mask every time I saw him. I also sanitised the house profusely as well as everything he touched. Eventually, I realised that it was cruel and unsympathetic to the person who needed support.”

She indicated that she had changed her mindset and decided that she and her husband would “isolate together”.

“My daughter’s child was staying with us but I had to let her go to her mother. I also told my children that they must not come to the house. Our grandchild was young and could not understand. Currently it is only my husband and myself inside the house. We speak to the children over the phone. 

“We sleep in separate rooms but we move around together inside the house, although we always wear our masks. I cannot keep my husband locked in a room and deprive him from using the rest of the house.”

She pointed out that the virus did not only affect one physically, but mentally as well.

“It is like we are locked up in a prison together. No one gets in and none of us get out,” she laughed.

She added that they have still not received her husband’s initial test results from the clinic.

“The people who conduct the tests must prioritise the results of those who test positive. If we had known earlier, my husband might not have landed up in hospital,” she said.