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COVID-19 Survivor Story: 'The support I received encouraged me to fight and come back stronger'

Minimising exposure to COVID-19 is challenging when you work on the frontline. This employee tells his story and the lessons he learnt.

Name: Max

Job title: Housekeeping Assistant, Life St Dominic’s Hospital, Eastern Cape

Positive diagnosis: 24 May

Returned to work: 8 June

Self-isolation: At home

Time in hospital: 3 days


It’s okay to be emotional if you test positive

‘When I got the news that I was positive for coronavirus, I was shocked and a little disappointed. I contacted my line manager and told her the news. She called me and we both cried because I really wasn’t expecting this.

 ‘A social worker called to check on me every day, which made me feel strong enough to fight the virus, and it helped me believe that I was going to survive.’

Reaching out to others

‘When I started working at Life Healthcare, I completed a course called the CARE programme. It was about the different role players [in the hospital], like doctors and nurses, and about putting the patient at the centre of care. When I was the patient, I could really feel the care from all the staff. They put me, as the patient, first.'

‘I feel like this virus brought us closer together. Even when I came back to work, nobody judged me. They just kept asking me if I was really okay. They never gave up on me.'

‘Everything in life happens for a reason. Now I can reach out and help people who have also contracted this virus. People who are going into quarantine have reached out to me and asked me for advice.’

It’s important to share your experience

‘The lesson I learnt is that you can’t keep this a secret. I know people think you can’t tell anyone, but as soon as you get a positive result, you need to tell the people with whom you have been working so they can also get tested and get help.'

‘Everyone around me knows that I was sick and that is how I got the help I needed. The support I received encouraged me to fight and come back stronger. When I came back to work, I kept talking to people about my experience and telling them my story.’