Two of the fittest and healthiest people in Tzaneen town were tested positive for the Coronavirus. They recovered. And we went to have a chat with them.

“I woke up one morning and my body felt sore, like I had slept wrong and I had a very mild headache.” This seems to be the common denominator with patients who tested positive for the Coronavirus. Bulletin spoke to two of the five Tzaneen locals who tested positive for the virus earlier this month, went into isolation and have now fully recovered and returned to work.

Dr Gary Middleton (47), head of the Emergency Room situated at Mediclinic Tzaneen tested positive for Covid-19 on the 5th of July after he called the lab and asked to be tested.

“I woke up at around 01:00 that morning with a bit of a headache and my body felt sore. I think I may have had a bit of a fever, but nothing drastic. So, I got up and went to the kitchen to drink some of my wife’s homemade lime cordial which is filled with ginger and all sorts of stuff. It has an incredibly unique taste. I poured a nice tall glass of the stuff and when I drank it, I could not taste a single thing. That is when I realized I had been infected with the Coronavirus. I went to my wife and said listen, I’m going to sleep on the couch and the next day I contacted the lab guys.”

The test came back positive and he was advised to stay at home for fourteen days.

“Most of the first few days all I did was sleep. I easily slept 12 to 16 hours a day and stayed hydrated. I drank lots of water and ate lots and lots of fresh citrus while continuing with my daily intake of Vitamin C and D. I made sure that I spent at least an hour or more in the sun everyday to activate Vitamin D intake and basically just rested. Despite not having much of an appetite, I still ate a lot of Vitamin D rich food like eggs.”

Dr Gary Middleton is the head of the Emergency Room situated at Mediclinic Tzaneen.

According to Middleton, his sense of taste returned after the first week and felt a little “groggy” for a few days after that but there was no need for any prescribed medication. His main symptoms were muscle aches and constant fatigue.

During his illness, Middleton said that he took two Panados when he felt he had a bit of a headache, and this he said must have been on two or three occasions.

Dr Middleton is back at work in the ER where he said that he has been seeing quite a bit more patients infected with Covid-19.

According to him, most don’t need emergency treatment or hospitalization as they exhibit mostly mild flu symptoms. “There are some that we have hospitalized during this outbreak, but it is important to remember that those are the minority of cases.

This virus is here to stay, and the chances are good that all of us will eventually get infected at one time or another. Some of us will not exhibit any signs and will not even know that we had the virus before it is over again. Others will be man-down for a few days and an exceedingly small percentage of those will need to be hospitalized.

Of those hospitalized, very few will need intensive care. Unfortunately, as we have seen in the last few months, there might also be deaths.”

Well-known local fitness athlete and exercise guru, Tracy Petersen (44) also fell ill with the virus.

Another well-known member of the Tzaneen community, Tracy Petersen (44), also learnt that she had been infected with the dreaded coronavirus about two weeks ago. “I first thought something was up after a run with one of my daughters on the Friday afternoon. I was out of breath after about two kilometres and that was weird because I usually complete a five kay without being too out of breath. I literally felt exhausted.”

Petersen contacted her family doctor, Gary Middleton, who after listening to her explain her symptoms, confirmed that she may very well be infected. He advised her to have herself tested which she dually did and went into self-isolation with her daughter upon receipt of the positive diagnosis.

“I kept my daughter at home with me because she attends one of the local schools and the last thing you need is for one of the kids at school or teacher to get infected. So just in case, the two of us stayed put indoors and waited for the virus to pass. I cannot tell you how difficult it is to be confined between these walls when you are actually a very outdoorsy person!”

Like Middleton, Petersen experienced sore muscles and an intense constant fatigue which she could not explain. Her sense of taste also disappeared for a few days and she felt a slight headache once or twice during the last two weeks. Her daughter exhibited no symptoms at all.

“Not being able to exercise is hectic. Being sick and not being able to exercise is even worse. With the regulations prohibiting the opening of gyms, we have all had to adjust to exercising at home. Even for a professional fitness athlete, that just is not the same as being in an actual gym.”

She tried to figure out how she managed to get infected as she has a home gym which ticks all the regulation boxes like sanitizers and masks and social distancing, but she still managed to contract the virus. She believes that it could have been passed on to her by someone who exhibited no symptoms.

“Look, I don’t know how I contracted it, I’m just relieved that I’m recovered and that the illness itself was not bad enough to cause me hospitalization. I believe that there are fear mongers among us who want this virus to be something much worse than it actually is. I am not saying that you should ignore the virus, because it is here and will stay here for a long time, I’m saying don’t fear it. Wear your mask, wash your hands, keep your distance.”

According to health professionals the world over, your chance of getting infected is high. Your chance of dying however, is exceptionally low.

“Because that is the best strategy for a virus,” explained Dr Middleton. “Think about it, if you are a virus and you kill your host, you will also die. So, the best strategy would be to be extremely infectious, but not lethal. That way you ensure your own survival. If you are a human being in poor physical shape, or have a history of poor health, you might very well be one of the few who will not survive and infection like this. Covid-19 may just be the final tipping point that pushes your already poor health condition over the edge.”

Another doctor who Bulletin spoke with, Stephen Janse van Rensburg, explained that wearing a mask will not prevent you from contracting the virus, it will however limit the amount of viral particles that enter your body enabling your immune system to effectively fight off the infection.