A lot has been speculated about our public health systems and the government’s response to COVID-9 in India. The country is currently grappling with about more than 2,400 confirmed cases and 57 deaths. It’s natural for the number of cases to rise as the testing process speeds up. There is substantial hysteria around the virus and very little information is available on what happens on the ground once a patient is tested positive and quarantined. This is precisely why we felt that it was important to narrate the story of an Indian student who was tested positive after returning from his university in London. His account will shed light on the realities of what ensues after one is tested positive. Citizens coming from global epicentres have been cautioned to self-quarantine so as to avoid the spread of the virus in the community and frontline workers are doing their level best to ensure the safety of the public with the resources in hand. We hope that this rendition will provide some clarity and understanding of the pragmatics of the situation.
The following is student Hrishi Giridhar’s first-hand account of his experience with the virus as narrated on social media:
“I have contracted Covid-19. The following is my experience so far. My main aim of writing this post is to talk about the amazing care I have received so far from Kasturba Hospital, Mumbai. I also want to spread awareness about my symptoms.
I am a student who was studying in London, and I had decided to fly back home due to the coronavirus outbreak. When I landed in Mumbai, and I had no symptoms whatsoever for the first two days. It was on day 3 that I began to feel very fatigued. Lots of sleeping and lethargy, and a mild fever (99°F). Next day, my fever increased to 100, and then up to a max of 101.6. I personally had NO respiratory symptoms. No sore or irritable throat, no coughing, no sneezing, nothing. There was vomiting one night, and otherwise generally persistent fever and fatigue.
I also had severe dizziness, and on one day, I fainted while walking around at home. I fell on my face and broke a few teeth, and sustained some injuries to my chin and jaw.
This seemed to be a signal that something was wrong, and despite physical injuries, the priority was to get tested for Covid 19.
KASTURBA HOSPITAL: I went to Kasturba hospital the same night that I fainted. The test is a simple throat swab, and it took approximately 24 hours to get the results. The nurses and doctors on hand are friendly and helpful. Breakfast, lunch and dinner is served, which is usually roti, rice, two dals and a sabji, and food and warm water is available 24x7. Nurses hand out some tablets (such as multivitamins) to all patients, and they monitor if anyone has a fever or is feeling unwell in any way. They also go around giving people cough syrup, in case anyone requires it.
After 24 hours of wait, I was told that I tested positive and needed to be transferred to another ward. In the morning, we were given breakfast, and nurses and doctors were in to do all sorts of tests. (BP, blood test, X-ray etc). I must say I feel like I am in very good hands. The rooms and wards are CLEAN, the bathrooms are clean and there are multiple sanitiser bottles kept in every single room. Every day, there is someone who cleans the floor and changes the bedsheets. The doctors and nurses seem to know every patient and all their symptoms. I can only implore that everyone trusts that the doctors know what they are doing and are doing it to the best of their capacity. I have immense gratitude to everyone in the hospital who is taking care of me.
Today, a doctor took rounds to every room and talked to every patient, just to make sure people’s mental health was okay. He asked how we were doing, if there was anything bothering us, and told us to stay positive and strong. This was one of the nicest and most reassuring things to happen to me since I came to the hospital. I am extremely grateful to all the doctors, nurses and cleaners who are helping me right now and making sure I am comfortable. I think it is easy to criticise the government and government facilities but when you are actually here, you can see that everyone on the ground is doing the best they can with the resources that are available. I urge you all to follow the state’s orders to stay indoors and stay isolated and to not unnecessarily take actions that may put more pressure on the healthcare system.
This is DAY 12 for me at Kasturba hospital, but time has passed quickly and I have seen many patients recover and get discharged.
The government has also been persistently following up with everyone I was in contact with. Thankfully, my family and all other persons in contact with me tested negative and are safe. I hope you all stay indoors and safe as well. Take care.”
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