When Colorado Park resident Bianca Makatees received confirmation from the testing centre at Mitchell’s Plain District Hospital that she had tested positive for Covid-19, she felt like she had been given a death sentence.
Ms Makatees works for Capital Caterers food service, at Mitchell’s Plain District Hospital, making food for patients and delivering it to them.
She did not come into contact with the Covid-19 ward or patients, she said, and anyone who enters the hospital building is screened, they have to sanitise their hands and wear a mask covering their nose and mouth.
On Saturday May 9 she had a headache.
But, because her mom passed away six years ago, she was often emotional before Mother’s Day – which was on Sunday May 10 – so she thought that may have been the reason for her headache. But then she noticed that she could not smell anything nor taste what she was eating and on Monday May 11 she went for a Covid-19 test at Mitchell’s Plain District Hospital’s testing centre.
When her results came back positive, she was distraught.
Her husband, Elsworht, tested negative for the virus on Thursday May 14.
“I paid no mind to what the outcome would be before I got tested. I declared myself dead, everyone said there is no cure. I told my husband repeatedly, I am going to die. He said no you won’t die. I couldn’t rest. I was afraid and worried because of how young I am. I felt hopeless. Nothing compares to receiving this kind of news,” she said.
She self-medicated, self-isolated and “my family would drop the food in front of my door,” she told the Plainsman.
“Every day it is challenging. I do the regular things, washing hands, sanitising. I was so sad when I had to isolate myself from my husband,” she said.
Part of her support system was a Covid-19 WhatsApp group she joined for advice and encouragement.
“Do not be ignorant about this, get tested to know your status. This is real, it can happen to anyone. I support the health staff, who are working through this. Thank you for all the prayers and thoughts coming my way,” said Ms Makatees.
Explaining testing protocol, provincial Department of Health spokesperson, Monique Johnstone, said health officials use the hospital’s testing and triage tent to conduct screening of clients before entering the hospital and if symptoms are shown, then testing will be conducted. Patients are not hospitalised immediately but are asked to self-isolate at home. They are only hospitalised if their Covid-19 symptoms become so severe that they can no longer safely isolate or quarantine at home, she added.
If a person tests positive for Covid-19, the person will receive a phone call from a health official to confirm the test result.
Asked what additional precautions people could take to prevent infection, Ms Johnstone said: “It is advisable as a precautionary measure, to get undressed before entering your home and place your clothes in a packet and wash separately, sanitise your shoes before entering your home, sanitise your work and home space regularly and take a bath or shower immediately before greeting your family.”
People are also encouraged to reduce the risk of infection by practising the “five golden rules” – keeping a distance of 1.5m from other people, washing hands regularly, wearing a mask to prevent sputum droplets from spreading, coughing into your elbow, avoid gatherings and stay at home if possible, she added.
“And if sick, seek medical care if you struggle to breathe.”