I am COVID-19 positive, and in a public hospital in HK for next 2 weeks. Q&A
I am COVID-19 positive, and in a public hospital in HK for next 2 weeks. Q&A. I'm just really bored, it's day 4 and I've not much else to do so figured I'd post this.
1) March 9-13. Acquired the virus in London. Original symptom was a slight nasal drip (sniffles) and a very slight dry cough that only arose every few hours. So one cough every 5 or 6 hours or so, so it was unclear if it was an actual infection or just a common cold. Otherwise totally asymptomatic. That made it unclear if testing would have been warranted.
2) cough increased in frequency (a singular cough or two every hour) after about a week of incubation. Sniffles went away. Otherwise asymptomatic. In London, masks were unavailable. I checked multiple locations and was told all masks were sold out. I finally found a flimsy surgical mask at a convenience shop, and bought it for lack of alternatives. London was putting no precautions in place. Gatherings were still happening. Flights from London to most Asia locations were disappearing rapidly by March 13, when I started to look for an exit. I was competing with Asian students, business people and virus refugees that were abandoning London for HK/SG. Only two flights I could find were either with a 12 hr layover in Mumbai or a 24 hr layover in Ethiopia. Departed evening March 16. On the plane over there were many HK students wearing rain gear and labratory clean gear (I have pictures. They look adorable). Multiple people we coughing on the plane. I remained asymptomatic.
3) Arrived HK on March 18 morning. Presented myself to airport health authorities and said I had a minor dry cough and some breathing issues. I asked where I could get a test done. I was told tests were not given out unless directed by a physician. I was told government guidance was to go home, wait out 2 weeks, and see if I developed symptoms. I argued that I did have a couple of symptoms, but I was told since I was fever free that I would need to just go home. The only other recommendation was to go to the public hospital. I pondered going to the public hospital. I went home, gathered basic belongings and moved into
self-quarantine in our spare apartment (we had a tenant leave on the 15th). I minimized human contact, but was not totally in isolation (still went to Wellcome to buy food). Up to this point, symptoms are incredibly mild, so unclear if any test would be necessary. That's what is so insidious. The symptoms are so mild and 'generic' (who doesn't have a brief cough or two every 5 hrs) that it is unclear if a trip to the general hospital is warranted.
4) Woke up morning of March 21 exhausted and feeling flu-like symptoms - specifically exhaustion, heavy breathing, more intense dry cough, muscle soreness. It was clear corona was in effect. I sought to get a test in the private system and was quoted a total test cost of HK$950 ($450 for test, $500 for doctor fee). But I was also told that the clinic was full for the weekend, so that if I wanted a test, Monday morning was the best that they could do. I was concerned about going to the public hospital as an alternative, because on weekends the public hospitals are much lighter staffed. Went home, went to a feverish sleep. Woke up every two hours. Slept from noon Saturday until Sunday morning. Woke up in an immense amount of pain across all muscles and joints as if my body had gone 20 rounds with Royce Gracie. Really one of the worst feelings I've had from an illness. But by evening Sunday I was feeling much better.
5) Reported to the public hospital on Monday morning 9am. I was put into a waiting area for 'fevered' patients, despite not having a fever. The waiting area is outdoors of the hospital, in makeshift cubicles, while we waited for processing. There were 10 patients in total. The wait to begin processing was 9 hours. Processing involved going into a quarantine room, where the tech takes a chest xray to look for pneumonia. After that, doctor gets on intercom, tells you you're to be admitted, and they move you up to a negative pressure room, again in isolation. They run a corona virus test by threading a plastic tube into your nose and down into your esophagus to siphon a sample. It's the least pleasant proceedure I've expereinced, simultaneously giving pain to your nose while choking you with a tube. I can imagine there's a big market for less-invasive tests. They also ran a throat swab, which is less invasive.
6) Tuesday I was transferred to a bigger hospital where there's more beds, into a common-room where I have 3 other roommates. All of us got infected in London and brought the virus back to HK. Many people fled UK back to HK and Singapore once it was clear London was unable to manage the crisis. We're all on designer anti-viral drugs that they give to HIV patients. So I guess we're all getting the best of care. I've started doing prison-style workouts. There's no place to really get exercise except for the shower room, which is a small room off of the cell where the 4 of us are housed. So I kind of fit my lower half of body into the shower room and do pushups and squats in the area near the bed.