The first COVID-19 positive patient treated and discharged from Tauranga Hospital has praised healthcare staff for the exceptional and compassionate care received.

“How do you thank people for having a life?” said the person who was discharged yesterday.

The patient, who cannot be named or otherwise identified for patient privacy reasons, has now returned home. They said they wanted to “shout from the rooftop” about the wonderful care received while in hospital.

“I’m in awe of the care I got. The nurses, the doctors, everyone was just wonderful, simply superb, so lovely and funny as well. It helped brighten my days and certainly helped with my recovery. My heartfelt thanks go to them all, they’re all heroes in my mind. I mean how do you thank people for having a life? It could so easily have gone the other way.”

Clinical Nurse Manager Traci Adams said the care the patient received was a whole-of-team-effort during their time in hospital.

“We are thrilled that the patient has recovered and is now able to return home,” said Traci.

Meanwhile the patient urged people to take COVID-19 seriously and to heed all the current lockdown precautions to help fight its spread.

“It is so serious and it just creeps up on you, it’s insidious. If my symptoms are anything to go by, it is very hard to identify and it takes quite a while to manifest itself. It took quite a few days before my temperature went up to 38C for example.”

The patient said the onset of COVID-19 for them was characterised by feeling “desperately tired”.

“I recall feeling listless, I was drifting really, not consciously thinking about anything. And I gradually lost my appetite until I just wasn’t eating. My doctor said I should get tested and a couple of days later it came back positive.”

Whilst in hospital the patient said they “lost track of time” to the point where they were still unsure about how many days they had been an inpatient. They said the seriousness of their situation though had been brought home to them by the conversations which were necessitated with family members about their wishes. They are now just utterly relieved to be back home with that family.

“Even when the doctors said I had turned the corner I was still very cautious,” they said. “I’m beginning to get my strength back a bit now but the doctors say it will probably be another three weeks or so before I’ll be feeling anything like normal. My appetite and sense of taste have not returned yet. I might be able to taste the first mouthful of anything I eat but not after that, then I’m really just eating because I know it’s fuel.”