To date, Belize has confirmed seven cases of COVID-19. The last three confirmations came over the weekend with one in Corozal and two in San Ignacio. Yesterday we spoke with Patient Three who says he has only had mild symptoms. Earlier today we were in contact with Patient Six who says he sought to be tested after he heard of Hubert Pipersburgh’s condition.
Patient Six: “I was tested on Friday. On Friday morning when I found out that Hubert was patient number four I phoned a friend that works with the Ministry of Health and I explained to him that Hubert was in my vehicle as he usually is on a weekly basis and so the people from the Ministry of Health and Public Health Department they came on Friday evening and this was four days ago and I got my results back yesterday morning that I had tested positive.”
Reporter: And what was that like when you got that result ? What was the feeling?
Patient Six: “It was total shock. It was total shock and like I said I had minor symptoms and the loss of smell and taste was concerning. I really was chalking it up to regular seasonal allergies because I do suffer from seasonal allergies especially this time of year when most of the trees and the flowers are blooming, it has been a constant problem for me so I thought it was only a severe case of allergies not knowing that I was infected. So I was shocked and well it’s caused quite a bit of anxiety because I’m still awaiting the results for my wife and my kids and I believe that those tests are being ran today and we should know by tonight or tomorrow morning the latest.”
According to Patient Six, just like Patient Three, he had lost his senses of smell and taste. Patient Six, who is a 38-year-old businessman of San Ignacio Town, explained that he has only had mild symptoms and that the most discomfort he has had was the swabbing process.
Patient Six: “Today makes fifteen days that I was in last contact with Hubert Pipersburgh. He rode with me, I live in San Ignacio and have my business in Belize City. He would ride with my quite often on a weekly basis, maybe two or three times. He last rode with me on the 23rd of March which would make fifteen days today and I believe that I was probably infected then or perhaps the week prior when he rode with me also in my vehicle. Since then my symptoms have been fairly mild. I did have a severe case of sinusitis and it is the worst congestion and sinus pressure I’ve ever experienced but what I’ve never experienced is the complete loss of smell and taste, I could not smell or taste anything at all for two weeks. Even now my condition is improving but I’d say I’ve regained maybe 25% or 30% of my sense of smell and taste. Other than that it’s been fairly mild I never had any fever, no coughing, no respiratory problems and that’s about the worst of it. Beside the anxiety I’m feeling rather fine and I do believe I’m in the recovery stage of this thing given the timeline.”
Reporter: Okay so you’ve had to isolate away from your wife and children.
Patient Six: “Well I’m in the house because they have been exposed I’m taking precautions, I’m wearing a mask and the dishes that I use I’m keeping it separate from what they’re using because I don’t want any transfer but I’m not isolated from my wife and kids because I’ve been over the past two weeks I’ve been in direct contact with them and so based on the results on their test swabs that were done yesterday then I guess that decision will be taken but so far no. I’m keeping my distance from them but I am not locked away from them. They have absolutely no symptoms no.”
Reporter: What was the testing process like for you ?
Patient Six: “So there are two swabs that are taken, one of the throat and one of the nose. The one in the throat isn’t so bad the one in the nose is quite a bit uncomfortable and I felt a soreness in my nasal passage within probably a day almost two days after the swab was taken but that is understandable I mean you’re introducing something foreign into your nasal cavity so the soreness will be there so that’s quite expected.”
As it relates to the passing of Patient Four, Hubert Pipersburgh, Patient Six says he enjoyed his friendship and that his passing is a tremendous loss. He also spoke of the attacks and stigma displayed on social media.
Patient Six : “Myself I have tried to keep away from social media because I see how especially vicious some people were regarding Hubert Pipersburgh’s case and so I really – it is a roller coaster of emotions right now. Given all of our worry and the reality of trying to cope with this thing the reality of being infected I really don’t want to complicate matters by looking at social media and looking at all the negative things people have to say and the speculation and the stigmatization of this disease. The virus, I was infected not by choice, I was infected doing something that I do every week, you know a good friend of mine because Hubert I counted him as one of my good friends, I had no reason to tell him ‘No’ when he phoned me for a ride I actually look forward to picking him up. We have always had lively discussions on the way to Belize City on politics, religion, life on a whole. He was an incredible person, he was an incredible person and I will miss him dearly. It pains me to know that he is not around anymore but having being infected by him I see the social media aspect of it I myself was sent some very nasty things that people are posting most of them having to do with speculation and I understand that there are some posts out there being shared on Facebook and Whatsapp and several Whatsapp groups about me. I haven’t seen them personally but I choose not look at it, people will be mean, they’ll be negative and I would hope that not only for myself but for anyone else because I do believe that there will be people, there will be some more persons positive case coming out and I think Belizeans on a whole we’ve been quite a good community to each other and I’m hoping that the fear of this virus will not change us into something that we’re not. I really hope that the stigmatization of this thing would stop and people would try to have a little bit more understanding and perhaps instead of sharing negative things on social media perhaps extend a prayer to the families that are affected because it has a psychological toll as well it’s not only health wise. So these families, including my own, we have been battling that psychological aspect of it. With that being said I’ve had an outpouring of support from the community on a whole both locally in Belize, I have a lot of friends in the states, in Central America. Since you know who I am already you know I am the pioneer of Belize Biker Rally that sees a lot of people from Mexico and Central America come to Belize so I have a vast expanse of friendships across borders and the support that I’ve received has far outweighed perhaps some of the negative things that I hear are on social media I haven’t seen any and I don’t wish to see them.”
As noted, Patient Six says he has very mild symptoms and is at home in self-isolation.