“I was shocked. I couldn’t believe I had Covid-19. I was as healthy as ever and I only went for the test because I was at a location where people had tested positive.”
For 41-year-old Maria Nkabinde, a hardworking single mother from Brits, testing positive was an eye-opener. “I have been so careful since the start of the pandemic, wearing a mask, washing hands, keeping a social distance, and still it got me.”
Maria is the media liaison officer for the Brits police and was part of a group of people who were tested after several Covid-19 cases was confirmed at the Brits and Mooinooi police stations. “I went for the test but I thought it would be negative. I am a health and fitness fanatic and believed I had a healthy immune system, and then I tested positive on 17 June,” she told Kormorant from a quarantine centre in North West.
“After the shock passed, I told myself not to panic and stay positive. I am very lucky. I still have no symptoms. I work, study and exercise and I feel good. Other people get really sick. I am just very thankful for my health.”
Maria was in self-isolation at home for a week and was then moved to an isolation centre. “It was for the protection of my family and community members. I did not want to infect anyone else,” she says.
“I want to use this experience to motivate people to stay positive. If you start stressing, you weaken your immune system. This is not a train smash. Don’t panic. If I start worrying, I force myself to think of something else. I eat healthy, take my vitamins and sit in the sun for a while every day.”
“I have to thank my colleagues and the Brits police cluster management who supported me during this ordeal. All the support made it so much easier.”
She says her experience has made her realise once again how important it is for people to adhere to the Covid-19 regulations. “Wash your hands with soap and water, sanitise, wear a mask and keep a safe distance from other people. As far as I know I was not in close contact with a Covid-19 positive person, but I got it from somewhere. Covid-19 has to be taken seriously. It is not choosy, it can infect anyone. Learn from my experience. Be safe and stay positive!”