Father Of COVID-19 Case 100 Details His Experience
STORY: Father of Case 100
18 March 2020
This article written by the father of COVID-19 Case 100 is being circulated on social media. His identity remains anonymous, but Wonderwall.sg wants to get in touch with him for more details. We can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Case 100 is a 20 year-old male Malaysian national with no recent travel history to China, Daegu and Cheongdo. He is linked to the cluster at Wizlearn Technologies Pte Ltd.
Since Covid-19 is something new to us and it is spreading like wildfire, I thought it will benefit many by sharing what I have learnt from my personal experience. Some of you might have known that my son is Case 100. He has recovered and has returned home on 14 Mar.
My wife and I have also completed our 14 days quarantine order last Friday (13 Mar).
My son will be entering the university in August. As he was bored at home, he took up a part time job at Wizlearn Technologies. He was supposed to work until end of February. As fate would have it, he became one of the luckiest guys in Singapore.
On Wed (26 Feb), he was informed that someone in the building had contracted Covid-19. All the staff in his office were told to work from home from the following day. The next day, he told us he had a mild fever in the evening. We gave him some Panadols and he went to bed. The following morning, he said he still had a fever, so we asked him to visit a GP a few blocks away from our home. During his visit, he told the GP about his colleague at Wizlearn. The GP did an influenza test on him which turned out to be negative. 30 minutes after he arrived home, MOH called him and told him that an ambulance would be sent to fetch him to NCID for tests (if this was not efficiency, I don't know what it is!).
At the NCID, they did a nasal swab test at about 3pm. They told us he would be admitted for the night for observation and a subsequent test would be done the next morning. We were allowed to bring some clothing and personal belongings to him. MOH told us that we could only do this once. We were not allowed to see him. So we left the bag at the reception. MOH started contact tracing that very evening. My son told us to expect a call from MOH the next morning.
On Saturday morning (29 Feb), my son called us and told us that NCID had confirmed that he had tested positive for Covid-19. Within hours, MOH and subsequently, Cisco contacted us regarding the quarantine order. Two Cisco officers and a nurse came to our house to issue us the quarantine orders. The nurse handled us a thermometer and 2 pieces of face mask each. We were given a form for us to record our body temperature 3 times a day. The Cisco officers explained the conditions of the quarantine order to us in detail. Surprisingly, he was not able to answer several of our questions. He had to call his boss to seek clarification. He did tell us that the rules and regulations from MOH kept changing from time to time.
Here are some of the things we have learnt from the quarantine order -
(1) It was actually 13 days (not 14). Our quarantine order started on Saturday 29 Feb at 12 pm and it ended at 12 pm on Friday 13 Mar. We assumed the 14 days started on the last day we saw our son, which was on 28 Feb (last contact date).
(2) The government quarantine facility is only available to people who rent a room or stay in a dormitory. MOH will assess the application on case by case basis.
(3) MOH only provides food to those who stay in the government quarantine facility. For the rest of us quarantined at home, we have to depend on ourselves for our meals. We will be lucky to have kind neighbours or relatives and friends who are free and not working to send us food. Of course, the quarantine officers told us we could always order food from Grabfood and Deliveroo (expensive suggestion!).
(4) Each day, we received 3 Whatsapp video calls from an MOH officer. On certain days, 2 video calls and a surprise home visit by a Cisco officer. They called to check our body temperature and also to check on our health conditions, if we had any symptoms. On the first day, they asked us to show them 3 locations in our house which will be used to identify/ensure that we are good boy and girl (staying at home). The video calls were made by different people every time. Sometimes, it was a man. Sometimes, it was a lady. We could hear their voices but could not see their faces (We were always shown colourful walls and ceilings). It was very inconvenient. Sometimes, they called us at 7am when we were still sleeping.
On the same day we received the order, we were visited by an officer from the NEA. He issued us a bottle of Clorox, one face mask and a pair of gloves. An officer also called us later to inform us that they would provide a one time disposal of bio-hazardous waste. We were expecting someone from NEA to clean and disinfect our house. As it turned out, we were told to do it ourselves (hahaha).
My two other sons (the younger brothers of Case 100) stayed with us throughout our quarantine order. They usually stay in the dorm at ACSI from Monday to Friday. MOH contacted ACSI during contact tracing and the school sent them home on leave of absence (LOA) (they have no other place to go to) until further notice. They were not served any quarantine orders as the last time they saw their eldest brother was on Sunday, 23 Feb when he had not shown any symptoms. Under the condition of the LOA, they were allowed to go out for a short duration to pack food. They became our personal GrabFood.
My son (Case 100) had a bit of cough and a serious sore throat after his admission. However, throughout his admission, he was only given cough medicine and some lozenges. No other medication at all. Thankfully, he recovered on Sunday, 01 Mar (on the third day of his admission). My son’s symptoms were confined to only mild fever and 3 days of sore throat (making him one of the 80% of Covid-19 patients who only show mild symptoms). But he would only be discharged once he got two consecutive "negative" test results from his nasal swab. Finally, he got his “negative” results on Friday, 13 Mar and Saturday, 14 March. Upon discharge, the doctor told him that he now had zero chance of being re-infected as his body has already developed strong antibodies against the virus. It means he can walk out freely without wearing a mask. We are so envious of him. He said it was his reward after spending 16 days in isolation, eating only boiled and steamed food (not even one meal was served with fried food). He even went to the USS yesterday and told us that "there is no queue on any of the rides!"
I have learnt three important lessons from Covid-19:
(1) Freedom is something we always take for granted until you lose it. Cherish your freedom. You never know when you will be served a quarantine order.
(2) Hoarding is not a stupid thing to do. My wife had always insisted we must have all the basic necessities, groceries and cleaning agents stored away, in case of emergencies. Not to mention our three-tiered freezer was filled to the brim with frozen food. This availed us the welcomed option of fresh home cooked meals.
(3) Thank God for the internet. Otherwise, we would have been bored to death.
We are thankful for supportive family and friends who check in on us daily. We also appreciate
(1) the management of Mediacorp for showering us with support and care. Thank you for the food hamper.
(2) Malaysia Embassy who called my son personally and told him that help, and support is just a phone call away.
(3) Ministry of Social and Family Development who sms us to ask whether we need any financial assistance during our quarantine period.
(4) the teachers of ACSI who brought us fruits, tarts and cakes.
(5) the student support of SUSS who sent us a couple of eCards
All these small little things made a big difference during difficult times.
It seems like Covid-19 is not going away soon. Please adhere to all the health and travel advisories by the Singapore government. Do check your email regularly for any updates by our WSH committee.
Practise social distancing. Stay safe and stay home as much as you can.