Advocate recovering after testing positive

Senior state advocate Krishen Shah is in Westville Hospital’s ICU after testing positive for Covid-19.
Senior state advocate Krishen Shah is in Westville Hospital’s ICU after testing positive for Covid-19.

A senior state advocate, currently in an intensive care unit with Covid-19 related pneumonia, has told of how he first tested negative and then a few days later positive after he spiked a “seriously high fever”.

Advocate Krishen Shah, a senior state advocate with the National Prosecuting Authority’s Durban office, was one of a few people who possibly picked up the virus at a court last week.

Shah said he received a phone call on the morning of June 10 advising that the court orderly had a high fever and was advised to go for testing. He said he had last been in court on June 9. On June 11, the orderly received confirmation that he had tested positive and on June 12, just to be cautious, Shah said he went for a test but received a negative result.

“I’m told that 30% of cases come up as false negatives because the virus is still in the incubation period. That is very misleading,” said Shah.

He said over the weekend, his temperature started spiking above 39 degrees and on Monday he went to his general practitioner who ordered some other blood tests, gave him medication for pain and fever, and sent him home.

“We didn’t think it was Covid because the test had come back negative. So I went from the doctor’s surgery to the pharmacy and then home. But the meds were not helping me. A few hours later, the doctor called to say to my white blood cell count was very high and indicative of an infection somewhere. By that time, my temperature was extremely high and the doctor advised me to go to the hospital. At hospital I was treated as a person under investigation, until my test results came through again, and I got confirmation on Wednesday that I was Covid-19 positive,” said Shah.

He was then moved to the intensive care unit as he was wheezing with the pneumonia. “Fortunately I’m not on a ventilator. I’m feeling much better than the last few days but certainly not 100%. It’s not something I would wish on anyone. It starts with this fever and an accompanying pain in head and scalp, so much so that it is actually painful to the touch, your eyes feel like there’s sand in it … very prickly. I didn’t have loss of taste, no cough or anything else.

“Knowing that it was Covid and not anything worse like TB with a long-term recovery period was a relief. I also felt relieved that I’ve got it and can work towards building antibodies so hopefully I won’t have a problem again ... My wife and children are quite stressed out. We are awaiting their results. My wife is in isolation at home, while the children are with their grandparents,” said Shah.

Possibly in his sixth day of infection, Shah said he was in isolation since he received his results. Medical staff, he said, were not based in his ward but were available via intercom. He said he has to mask up before they enter and they were kitted out in PPE. “The reality is that we rely on other people’s common sense to protect ourselves and not everyone has common sense. My advice is not to let your guard down at any time and just be vigilant and keep yourself in check. You can only take care of yourself,” said

Shah, who suspects he picked up the virus from touching an unsanitised door handle or pulling his mask off and inadvertently touched his face before sanitising his hands.

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