The results of the swab test came on my cellphone on August 9th in coldly clinical terms: SARS-Cov-2 (causative agent of COVID 19) viral RNA detected (+).

The shock of the report stunned me. This isn’t happening. I have received the complete dose of the vaccine Sinovac. I stayed at home and masked whenever I had to answer the door. I had two previous tests and both registered negative.

More than a month ago, two of the household help asked to be allowed to visit their parents in the province. As they faithfully discharged their duties and we understood that this was a basic feeling, we allowed them. To minimize exposure, they were transported by private vehicles coming and going.

Within a day after their arrival, one of them started exhibiting flu-like symptoms- headaches, weakness, and colds. This was common among them, as cleaning the house exposed them to dust and perhaps this triggered the cold-like symptoms. Providing them with cold relief tablets appeared to work and they were back to their normal routines the following day.

The things started to happen in the house. There are 10 members of my household- myself, my son and his wife, my granddaughter, two company employees and four household helpers. After the first sign of “colds,” the other domestic help started to exhibit the same symptoms. Then, in short order, the company employees fell ill then my son.

As my daughter-in-law is a health professional, she recommended, and we acceded, to having all the household tested for COVID. At the time immediately prior to the testing, three domestics, myself, my granddaughter and my daughter in law remained asymptomatic. Then the test results came, my son, the two company employees, one of the domestics, myself and my granddaughter tested positive. Remember, these tests do not come cheap ranging from P2,950 to P4,000 per test. Therefore, it is conceivable that many families cannot afford to be tested.

My daughter in law mobilized things quickly. A strict quarantine area was located in the house for the employees and the maid who tested positive. My son, my granddaughter and myself were confined to our rooms, which was a separate wing of the house and not allowed to leave.

For everybody’s safety, food was brought to us similar to prisoners placed in isolation, placed in paper plates and plastic utensils and left by the doorway entrance. The means of communication with everyone in the house was through Viber, as nobody was allowed to get in contact with anybody who tested positive.

It turns out that the testing agency was obligated to inform the authorities about any “concentration” of COVID positive persons, and the day after the test results came out, the local barangay health people were at our gate informing us that those infected would have to be placed in a government quarantine facility. I was amazed at the efficiency of response.

We made an argument that I stay in my residence as I was asymptomatic and had co-morbidities (diabetes) and had all the meds and facilities at home, as well as the dedicated toilet facilities. As for my granddaughter we also argued that she stay at home as she likewise was asymptomatic and, being very young, was likely more resistant to COVID. The authorities relented, but the trade-off was that we stay in quarantine for 14 days, instead of seven as they wanted to assure themselves that the virus die off before they could disinfect the rooms we occupied.

Three of the household members were transported to Quezon City General Hospital, where they were X-Rayed for lung lesions and given meds. Finding no lung lesions, they were transferred to a school near Fairview, converted into a quarantine facility. Their feedback is that the facilities are livable, but that they were uncomfortably warm. Also, the food was quite delicious and they were subject to periodic health checks.

The bath and toilet facilities, however, are another story. The toilet bowls were clogged and there was little or no water pressure. As a result, they had to fill up pails of water and lug them about two stories up everytime they had to bath or perform their daily ablutions.

In the meantime, my son who tested positive developed a persistent fever and had to be hospitalized. He has been diagnosed with pneumonia induced by COVID. He is being treated intravenously, though he has no difficulty breathing but  has some weakness and has the classic cold symptoms.

As for me, I remain asymptomatic to this day (Aug. 12th). However, I remain on pins and needles as I am aware that the Delta virus can attack with surprising speed. The same goes true with my granddaughter, who remains asymptomatic. At home at least, I can do work from home for the various commitments I have for August.

At the end of the day, what is apparent is as follows:

  1. When anyone in your household exhibits cold or flu symptoms, immediately effect quarantine procedures. Never assume it to be “ordinary” flu or colds.
  2. When more than two exhibit the same symptoms, do not hesitate to get swab tested. There are government sponsored testing centers, but, if you can afford it, test everyone immediately.
  3. It is advisable to get the infected ones to a government quarantine facility soonest, and if more than one show symptoms and you cannot get tested, inform your local barangay officials immediately.
  4. While the infected ones are at your residence, mask up, even if inside and avoid the quarantine area.
  5. It appears that at least, the Quezon City health response is adequate, as they will relocate you first to a hospital where you can get x-rayed and tested for FREE to test for COVID.
  6. While there may be some discomfort in the government quarantine facilities offer periodic testing and medical care, plus decent food. But…no aircon, and toilet facilities are sub-par. This is better than the infected finding a new host in your household.
  7. I am not advocating it in any way, but I take Ivermectin as per guidelines. To this day, I am asymptomatic.
  8. Get vaccinated ASAP.

Be safe out there.

  edwinvfernandez@gmail.com

Source: Manila Bulletin (https://mb.com.ph/2021/08/17/covid-a-personal-journey/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=covid-a-personal-journey)