I thought I would be safe, but I wasn’t | Western Cape Government

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I thought I would be safe, but I wasn’t

21 July 2021

Funerals and memorial services have become notorious for being so called super-spreader events of the COVID-19 virus. This also became true for a resident from Vredendal North, Mr Jan Julius (58).

Prior to the level 4 COVID-19 restrictions, Mr Julius was requested to deliver a tribute at a memorial service of a prominent sportsperson in his community. He knew the person well and wanted to pay his last respects to his friend.

“I have been practising the 5 golden rules vigilantly, but I now realise that going to that memorial service made all my hard work and cautious behaviour undone,” Mr Julius explains. He contracted the virus and started having flu-like symptoms including a bad cough and not being able to sleep. “I have gotten the flu in the past and usually I recovered quickly, but this time I didn’t seem to recover as usual. I then got tested for COVID-19 and received a positive result two days later.”

Mr Julius developed breathing issues and was eventually hospitalised. He stayed in hospital for four days and said that he was immensely impressed with the treatment he received in hospital, even as a COVID-19 patient. “The staff truly walk the extra mile, even though they are at risk of contracting the virus themselves.”

After being discharged from the hospital, Mr Julius isolated at his home. He said that he made sure to keep his distance, eat healthy and take in plenty of fluids. Although he felt alone at times, he knew that he had to keep his family safe and continued to isolate as required.

He says that contracting the virus had given him a renewed perspective and he is actively working in his community to change behaviour towards keeping safe. “I will tell anyone to wear their masks properly, even when they are just outside in our street.” Mr Julius believes that some community members have become very irresponsible in adhering to the restrictions and they are setting a bad example to their children. “We need to live by example, we also need to rethink funerals and memorial services. I thought I would be safe, but I wasn’t.”

Flattening the curve of the current third wave of infections can be possible if we stand together and protect ourselves by:

  • Keeping gatherings small, short and outdoors.
  • Making sure we have as much fresh air as possible indoors
  • Wearing our masks when with others or leaving the house.

Be extra careful if you are at risk of severe COVID-19: over 55 years or with diabetes, HIV, TB, Kidney disease, hypertension, chronic lung disease or cancer.