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Discharged Covid-19 patient from Insomnia says, ‘Dapat mag-ingat’

16 April 2020

By Daisy CL Mandap

Insomnia on D'Aguilar St before (top) and after it was shut down (below) after the coronavirus found its way in

For those who are not taking the Hong Kong government’s warning about social distancing and maintaining good personal hygiene to ward off the much dreaded coronavirus, beware.

A Filipina waitress at Insomnia bar in Lan Kwai Fong who was discharged from hospital on Apr 13, 20 days after being confined for Covid-19, says catching the virus and being treated for it is no joke.

Aside from being isolated while undergoing treatment for a highly dreaded disease, not to mention having to take multiple tablets everyday, there is also the uncertainty brought on by the varying results from the tests.

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“Dapat talaga mag ingat. Hindi mo alam nasa katawan mo na pala yung virus. Ang hirap, kasi nag negative ka na, tapos next day positive. Nakailang negative positive ako,” said the waitress, identified in Hong Kong’s health records as case no 453.

In a way, she was lucky because some patients, even the previously healthy ones, are hit hard by the virus that they are put on ventilators, or worse, intubated. Four of the more than 1,000 confirmed cases in Hong Kong have died.

Of around 100 cases linked to Insomnia and the so-called bar cluster, at least one, a 46-year-old woman who had visited two bars in Lan Kwai Fong in early March, is now in critical condition.
But for the Filipina waitress, what made the experience more difficult to bear was that she had unknowingly passed on the virus to her 16-year-old son who, though asymptomatic, tested positive on Apr 7 while staying in a quarantine camp.

“Last day nya sana pauwi, pero nag positive sya sa test,” she said.

Her son, identified as case no 930, is now still at Prince of Wales Hospital in Shatin, waiting to be cleared of the coronavirus so he can reunite with his mother in their home in Sheung Wan.

The waitress says she’s not sure how many Filipinos were stricken from the four bars identified in the cluster as the source of the virus. Apart from Insomnia, named were two bars in Wanchai, Dusk till Dawn and Centre Stage. The fourth was All Night Long in Tsim Sha Tsui.

“Marami, pero kami sa floor 4 lang,” she said.
The recovered patient says all the band members in the clubs are Filipinos
But she confirmed all the band members who played in the clubs and were found to have the disease, are Filipinos.

First to be reported as a confirmed case is the 29-year-old soloist of the band, who developed a fever, cough and sore throat on Mar 17, and tested positive on Mar 22. He remains in Caritas Medical Centre as of this writing.

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Everybody thought at first that he had passed on the virus to others, but later it turned out that a waiter in Insomnia had experienced symptoms a full week ahead but sought treatment only after the soloist was diagnosed with the virus. He was confirmed as a Covid case on Mar 25.

Records from the Centre for Health Protection show that there were at least three other people who had tested positive after visiting bars in Lan Kwai Fong earlier, including case no 192, who is now in critical condition. She visited two bars in the popular nightspot before experiencing cough and runny nose on Mar 11.
Among those linked to the bar cluster, nine are musicians or staff of the bars, mostly Filipinos, while 17 were customers. But more cases were added later as, in the case of the Filipina waitress, their family members were also infected.

At least eight of the bar staff and musicians are still in hospital, while the rest have been discharged.

After the soloist was found infected, everybody in the band, as well as the staff of the clubs, were asked to get tested for the disease.

“Ako diniretso na sa QMH (Queen Mary Hospital) dahil may ubo ako,” she said. She immediately tested positive for the virus.

Afterwards, she experienced other disturbing symptoms. “Nawala yung sense of taste at smell for one week,” she recalled.

She also had a cough and shortness of breath, “pero mild lang.”

She was told that the treatment given them was the same one used to treat Sars (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and Mers (Middle East respiratory syndrome), given that no cure has yet been found for the novel coronavirus disease, or Covid-19.

As she did not have severe symptoms, she was put on an all-oral treatment, which meant her taking five tablets in the morning and six in the evening.

Now that she has finally gotten rid of the lethal virus, she says she is just grateful to be back home. In a Facebook post, she thanked everyone who sent her food and encouraged her to continue fighting the dreaded disease, from her friends, relatives, as well as the owner of the bar who reportedly checked regularly on her and the other stricken staff.

Case no 453 has looked at Covid-19 in the face, and won.
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