Katherine Dorothy Newman is one of the oldest survivors of COVID-19 in the Western Cape. William Newman, son of Katherine, shares that his mother is affectionately known as Dorothy, Aunty Dorothy, or Ma Newman.

Newman was born on October 10, 1926 in Claremont. Due to the harsh Apartheid Group Areas Act laws of the time, the family was uprooted and settled in Lansdowne, and William shares that indeed, his mother has been used to hardships in life.

“As a divorced mother she has been a pillar of strength raising the family and during trying times provided us with the best love, care and education for them to build  successful careers.”

Over the last nine years, Newman has been a resident at Huis Nuweland, where she has always been warmly cared for. The COVID-19 pandemic required that everyone adjusts their environment.

“Huis Nuweland was very proactive in this regard,” explains William Newman. “They put in place the highest levels of control to limit the impact to their much loved residents and valued staff.” These strict protocols were put in place since the early days of COVID-19 in the Western Cape.

On June 2, the caring Huis Nuweland staff alerted the family to Newman’s coughing and upon the doctor’s advice, a COVID-19 test was conducted. The results came back positive.

“This was indeed very worrying news for the family, given our mom’s advanced age, but the family were comforted by the knowledge of Huis Nuweland’s  preparedness for this situation,” explains William.

During this time, Newman was cared for under the strict COVID-19 protocols at Huis Nuweland. However, after later displaying breathing difficulties the doctor advised that she be hospitalised and she was admitted to Groote Schuur Hospital. At Groote Schuur she received the necessary care and treatment and after improvement she was transferred to the CTICC Hospital of Hope. There she received further care and treatment resulting in her eventually being cleared of COVID-19 symptoms and ready to be discharged.

William shares that the doctors at the Hospital of Hope kept the family informed of his mother’s condition through regular updates, with the best news being “There are no further concerns regarding her COVID-19 condition” and “she is no longer infectious”.

Newman’s condition improved to the extent that she was fit enough to return to Huis Nuweland on July 3 . As usual, Huis Nuweland was well prepared to receive her and give her the required attention. She has shown remarkable improvement and is almost back to her normal self.

“Indeed this has been a very worrying time for the family. The fact that we could not see her while she was hospitalised was very sad and trying for the family. However, in the context of the COVID-19 protocols we had to accept this, knowing that it was the best for everyone. With Huis Nuweland implementing strict COVID-19 protocols we already had very limited contact with her since March. We had to remain strong and trust all the doctors, health care personnel and home carers to provide their professional service and show the love on our behalf, which I know they did,” says William.

He further explains that it has been a trying and confusing time for their mother, having been moved between Huis Nuweland and the various hospitals and back to the Huis Nuweland. Having to experience the unknown, surrounded only by unfamiliar doctors and health care workers with no family members close by was not easy. William shares that his mother has shown her fighting tenacity, which has been her hallmark all her life, to pull through this.

“Given her advanced age we are very grateful that our Mom has overcome this big challenge in her life. I would like to express the family’s sincere thanks and gratitude for the care provided by the doctors, health care personnel and home carers who have all contributed to her recovery and well-being. Our thoughts also go out to the families of those who have not been as fortunate as our mom. To those who have been struck by this virus, I want them to take inspiration from our mom and to have faith and remain hopeful. To the doctors and health care workers and home carers – keep up the good work. You are the soldiers at the forefront of this unknown war being thrust upon the whole world. Also, I would like to express our sincere gratitude to the Presidency and National and Provincial Government Health Departments for their assertive leadership and provision of facilities to fight this pandemic.”

Picture: Supplied

Article written by

Lucinda Dordley

Lucinda is a hard news writer who occasionally dabbles in lifestyle writing, and recent journalism graduate. She is a proud intersectional feminist, and is passionate about actively creating a world which is free of discrimination and inequality.