Nosisi Jacobs received the news that she had tested positive for COVID-19 on May 27. The 33-year-old mother of three from Langa was advised to isolate for 14 days. However, she could not isolate safely at her home and shared her concerns with her healthcare worker.
Fear of the stigma and discrimination in her community led her to seek assistance to isolate safely at a Western Cape Government Isolation facility.
“I would stand at my window and see how people would walk by and look at my house, chatting, staring and pointing fingers. I realise now that it was the fear of the virus itself that made my community scared and that they never thought it would reach our community. But back then I felt scared and unsupported,” Nosisi said.
She required further medical treatment and had to go to the hospital before she could go to the isolation facility. On the day that she was collected from home by the ambulance, community members stood outside yelling and shouting.
Nosisi spent a restless night at New Somerset Hospital without her children, aged four and six. The doctors at the hospital could see she was distressed and together with her doctor at Langa CHC, the doctors arranged for her children to isolate with their mother at the Lagoon Beach Isolation Facility.
“The experience at the isolation facility was a good one. We had to stay inside our room, but my children found it pleasant and comfortable. We were well taken care of and received three meals a day, and the necessary medical care. I never felt alone or abandoned, at one stage my medication had run out, and the nurses on duty organised what I required with efficiency. My children still talk about how beautiful the location was, as they didn’t want to come home,” Nosisi says.
She says that by sharing her experience with her community, she has gained their support. “Now that I am home I am no longer afraid. My community can see that I am alive and well. Initially, the fear of the unknown was what caused them to react the way they did. Now I am able to share my experience and they understand that anyone can get it, like me.”
Her message is simple: “We must support each other, because when you test positive, you need the support from your family and your community. Anyone can get coronavirus. You never know who in your own life will be affected or infected next by this virus. Remember they are also scared. Be kind to those who get sick and offer to help them.”
To arrange to go to an isolation or quarantine facility, contact:
Southern Western subdistrict: 021 202 090 or 021 202 0938 or email [email protected]
Picture: Nosisi Jacobs/Facebook