I am one of those who caught Covid in the last couple of weeks - so did my toddler, husband and helper. Yes, we isolated at home. Yes, we are ALL now covid negative. Yes, there is need for vigilance and panicking does not help. Here is my story...
It started with very minor symptoms – a slight runny nose, some sneezes and a cough here and there. I didn’t think too much about it, but tested myself anyway just to use up my fast-expiring rapid antigen test (RAT) kits. It was negative.
My household of 4 (husband, myself, an 18 month old toddler and helper) went about our usual ways – none of them had any major symptoms, just the same ones I was having, and no fever.
The third day after I tested myself, it was a particularly freezing rainy day. I headed to JHC to see if they had any heaters to sell. I noticed someone in the queue buying boxes of RAT kits - feeling some FOMO, I decided I should also stock up on some. They were of the YHLO brand, HKD225 for 5 tests.
Back home, I boasted to the husband how I managed to score some prized RAT kits. “Oh I guess I should use up the old ones then”, he said. So he tested himself and lo and behold, we saw a line developing next to the T sign. It was quite faint, but it was definitely there.
My husband’s positive RAT test
We proceeded to test the rest of the household – testing the toddler was a bit tricky (there’s no way I can get a swab up his nose) but I managed to test some of his snot the next morning. Turns out, we were all positive, with my T line being the strongest.
We started on a massive exercise of Googling, scrolling through chat histories in my mums whatsapp groups, and searching on the Facebook HK Moms page (very handy page by the way). Should we report the results? If so, how? Or should we just hunker down, not tell anyone and isolate ourselves until we’re negative?
I tried calling the Hospital Authority hotline 1836115 and the HKSAR government hotline 22804772, but the lines were constantly busy so there was no way for us to report our results. (At the time of writing, there is now a website where you can register your positive RAT result – see https://www.chp.gov.hk/ratp/ . However, the website only takes in results from 26 February – by that time, we were all testing negative already).
We notified the management office of our building, my workplace, some close friends, and proceeded to prepare for the upcoming days of self-isolation. I called my friend who lived nearby in case I needed her help to deliver any necessities – turns out, she’s positive too.
I’m 5 months pregnant, and had an antenatal checkup scheduled at Queen Mary Hospital the next day. Somewhat predictably, I couldn’t get through the hospital hotlines to reschedule my appointment. Eventually someone from the hospital called me as I didn’t show up to my appointment – they didn’t seem too concerned that I had Covid given my mild symptoms, and told me to rest at home and monitor. If things get a lot worse, I was told to call 999 (which thankfully, I never needed to). There were stories circulating of mothers being separated from their babies due to either testing positive - I dread to think of what would have happened had I, or my toddler, needed medical help.
The days after testing positive went by in a blur. This was before the panic buying started after the government’s mass testing announcement, so we still managed to get all our groceries/necessities delivered to the door via mostly Deliveroo/Food Panda/M&S. I was touched by how caring neighbours and friends were (including my fellow Localhood volunteers). Many offered to deliver RAT kits and other necessities, and forwarded any useful information they could find.
A lovely note that our neighbour slipped under our door
The hardest thing throughout this all was keeping our hyperactive toddler occupied indoors. Some activities that kept the toddler happy (and us sane):
- Turning his playmat into a tent
- Turning his tent into a ballpit
- Tearing up delivery bags and use them as drawing paper
- TV time (no judgment please, but he probably watched more Cocomelon in those few days than in his entire existence prior to that).
In Pic: Playdough provided many hours of fun
In Pic: The makeshift tent
In Pic: Trying to make good use of the many paper bags we received
On Day 6 of testing positive, we saw an announcement from the director of health that those undergoing home quarantine could be released if they tested negative on both day 6 and day 7. Without high hopes, we tested ourselves and were delighted to find that we were all negative already! Upon testing negative on day 7 again, we happily released ourselves from self-imposed exile. The first rays of sunshine sure felt amazing.
Other than myself being affected with a persistent cough, the husband, toddler and helper all recovered very quickly and had symptoms no worse than a common cold. Eventually I hauled myself to the doctor and was diagnosed with post-covid bronchitis - with some meds, I am slowly but surely recovering. Overall, we are glad that we caught Covid when we did.
Why you ask? We managed to avoid being sent to any isolation facility, and hopefully have higher immunity against any future infections 😁👏🎉!