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Irish Covid-19 patient: 'It was an eye-opener to how many people we come in contact with'

The man and his partner have both tested positive for the virus, but neither have severe symptoms.
Mar 21st 2020, 7:15 AM 88,139 45

ONE OF IRELAND’S 683 patients confirmed to have the Covid-19 virus has described his experience of being diagnosed and his time in self-isolation with his partner, who has also tested positive.

Speaking to, he said his symptoms started with a sore throat and cough, with aches and pains following that, and then a high temperature. He then began to experience some shortness of breath and pains in his ribs.

“It was bad on Day 4 but that has eased a bit today thankfully – on Day 4 I was finding it hard to hold a conversation on the phone as I’d be getting short of breath. That’s better today thankfully,” he said.

His partner’s symptoms, he said, progressed differently to his.

“My partner started with a high temperature and then got a cough and aches and pains. Her high temperature lasted for two days and subsided then. She’s just got aches and pains today and a slight cough.”

The man said he believes his partner may have been in contact with a positive case in her workplace, as another person there also has Covid-19.

He said it took a number of days to go through the process of getting tested and receiving their results. During this time, they followed public health advice and both remained in self-isolation. 

“When the positive result came back to us the contact tracing was an eye-opener to how many people we come in contact with on a daily basis. We had to give names and contact details of anyone we had been in contact with from when the symptoms started,” he explained.

“They explained that their contact tracing team would make contact with them to explain that they had been in touch with a positive case and advise them accordingly.

“Credit has to go to everyone involved in the process for being so calm, kind and understanding. Everything was explained so well by all involved.”

The couple was told that symptoms and recovery can vary from person-to-person and were advised to stay home for two weeks from the day their symptoms started.

He said they were told there is no plan to re-test them at the end of the two weeks as the health service is already under pressure with a backlog of tests. However, they were told if they still have symptoms at the end of the two weeks they should consult their GP before going back to work.

The couple told their family and a few close friends – “anyone we’d normally see just to explain why we’ve dropped off the face of the earth for two weeks”.

“We haven’t broadcast it much further though, just in case our wider group of friends or work colleagues get freaked out by it, but I’m sure they’ll figure it out in no time.

“Everyone we’ve told have been extremely supportive. We’ve had so many people dropping supplies and treats to the house and unending offers from everyone else to help with shopping or anything we need. Friends and family have been the ones keeping us supplied with everything and we are very, very grateful.”

They have been keeping in contact with family and friends by text, phone calls and video calls.

“We’re trying to keep occupied around the house catching up on jobs we’ve been meaning to do like fixing things and spring cleaning. Both of us get short of breath quickly though and we’re wrecked so we can only do a little bit at a time. Energy levels are quite low.

“Working our way through Netflix is a big way of passing the time,” he said.

“We’re young and relatively healthy so we’re not too worried. We keeping an eye on the symptoms and if they get too bad we know we can ring Public Health or our GP for further advice, or if it’s very bad, if we’re very short of breath or have severe chest pain, we were told to call an ambulance.”'s coronavirus newsletter cuts through the misinformation and noise with the clear facts you need to make informed choices. Sign up here

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Michelle Hennessy


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