Covid-19 survivor on the move: Patient dances out of Groote Schuur after 77-day hospital stay

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Zuliswa Maqana dances out of Groote Schuur Hospital as staff cheer her on.
Zuliswa Maqana dances out of Groote Schuur Hospital as staff cheer her on.
Groote Schuur Hospital, Supplied
  • Zuliswa Maqana, 48, was admitted to hospital for Covid-19 pneumonia on 4 May.
  • She was intubated and ventilated for 51 days at Groote Schuur Hospital's ICU.
  • She was discharged on Monday.


One of the Western Cape's coronavirus patients who was hospitalised the longest danced out of Groote Schuur Hospital this week - 77 days after she was admitted.

Hospital spokesperson Alaric Jacobs in a statement said no one would have expected 48-year-old mom Zuliswa Maqana to dance out of the hospital "but the jubilation was there for all to see" when she was discharged on Monday.

"I didn't know what day it was [when I entered the hospital] and I couldn't move for weeks. But they (hospital staff) helped me learn to walk again after 77 days. And they were all so happy for me when I could go home," Maqana said.

"Everybody was so nice to me and the doctors were wonderful. I am so happy with the treatment I got at Groote Schuur."

READ HERE | 93-year-old among latest to recover from Covid-19 in Western Cape as active cases reach 12 254

Maqana had severe Covid-19 pneumonia when she was admitted to Mitchells Plain District Hospital on 4 May. She was transferred to Groote Schuur Hospital a day later.

"She was immediately admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) and was intubated and ventilated there for 51 days out her 54-day ICU stay," Jacobs said.

General surgeon Dr Henri Pickardt said it was a "rocky course" for Maqana in ICU because she experienced complications and other infections along the way.

"Eventually, she left the ICU on 28 June and arrived in ward F5. She could hardly talk or walk on arrival in the ward, but slowly grew stronger as she was rehabilitated by physiotherapy and nursing," Pickardt said.

"The medical care received transformed her into the radiant patient who danced out of the hospital on [Monday]. One of the infections she had required her to complete a 4-week intravenous antibiotic course."

ALSO READ | Covid-19 mobile testing booths rolled out in Cape Town as infections continue to rise

Maqana, from Samora Machel, has two children and lost her husband three years ago.

"It was special for hospital staff to celebrate with the children that their mother recovered well," Jacobs said.

Statistics released by Health Minister Zweli Mkhize on Tuesday showed that the Western Cape had 86 329 positive cases out of the 381 798 cases nationally, representing 22.6% of the total in the country. Gauteng, at 36.5%, had 139 435 cases and the Eastern Cape had 66 759 or 17.5%.

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