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An Octogenarian couple with diabetes and other serious health issues are counting their blessings, having contracted the coronavirus (COVID-19) and survived.

The Manchester couple, who tested positive for the virus after returning to the island from the United States in March, are crediting their recovery to the health protocols that were implemented by the authorities, coupled with the fact that they had complied with the measures.

“I am feeling so blessed that God has spared our lives that we can tell our story,” said 80-year-old Winnifred Bromfield, who shared her story during a recent virtual COVID Conversations, hosted by the Ministry of Health and Wellness.

Mrs. Bromfield said she had travelled overseas for a medical appointment, but because of the virus, she and her husband returned quicker than normal.

“When I was on the plane, I did everything that was possible because COVID-19 was just picking up speed and I really wanted to get ahead before I got trapped in America,” she said.

The senior citizen recalled that on her arrival home at the airport, she was informed of the Quarantine Order and told “to keep my distance from everybody”.

Shortly after, she and her husband were contacted by a health official from St. Elizabeth, who informed them of the policy regarding checking and recording their temperatures and presented them with a kit.

“I would call and give her the recordings twice a day, and I think it was on the third day she found that our temperature was rising, but she told us she was not anxious to take us to any facility because of our age, but nevertheless they had to come and get us,” Mrs. Bromfield said.

She noted that they were taken to the Black River Hospital in St. Elizabeth, where they cooperated with the nurses and doctor, who treated them like family and did the test, which came back positive.

“Well, I was really concerned because we are diabetic, we have high blood pressure, high cholesterol and for me, there was another one against me as I have a history of congestive heart failure. Also, I was anaemic and I was concerned about what would happen to me,” she said.

Nevertheless, Mrs. Bromfield said she tried to do her best and cooperated with the health professionals.

“We spent six weeks in the hospital. We left the hospital on the 10th of March and we are home recuperating now, but about four days after I came back I had to go back because I was feeling so sick,” she recalled.

“So, even though I didn’t have the COVID-19, my body felt like when a hurricane passed through a town and everything had blown down and had to be rebuilt. So, our bodies had to go through a rebuilding process; even now we still have to see the doctors every two weeks,” the senior citizen added.

Based on her experience, a thankful Mrs. Bromfield is warning her fellow senior citizens to listen to the authorities.

“Don’t go out, and if you do have to go out for any reason, keep your distance, wear your mask and take every precaution you can,” she urged.

In the same vein, she also issued a similar appeal to the young people to refrain from partying and to avoid crowds.

“The music is going nowhere, music will always be here and dead man cannot party. And a person who fights today will live to fight another day,” Mrs. Bromfield said.

“Remember your grandmothers, your mothers and grandfathers and your fathers or your family. Remember that you are responsible for the family; you have to be responsible, be wise, be smart. Don’t throw away your life for a few nights of partying. Listen to the authorities; they mean you well,” she encouraged.

The senior citizen noted that if she had not listened to the authorities and complied with their orders, she and her husband would not be alive today.

Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, in the meantime, has commended the senior citizen for sharing her story, which he says not only has many lessons for everyone but shows the benefit of adhering to the measures.

“You’re here today to tell the tale because you complied with the quarantine orders and with the temperature check requirement and with the instructions from the medical team. I think that is a powerful testimony and the first lesson that all of us should learn, not just among seniors citizens but among the population, because a part of the challenges we have is that too many people do not comply,” he said.

“They think they know more or better than the public health team, and we are the ones who are in touch with the World Health Organization and the experts and are tracking the virus and the impact, and, therefore, have the prescription as it relates to how to behave,” Dr. Tufton added.

The Minister also urged the youth to heed Mrs. Bromfield’s advice, as young people on the island have been contracting the disease and have been passing it on to their parents and grandparents.

“We have actually had cases like those where a mother passed, because her daughter contracted COVID-19, took it home and infected the house, including her mother,” Dr. Tufton said.

The Minister thanked Mrs. Bromfield for her advice and encouragement, adding that “her warning to young people is well noted and is absolutely spot on”.

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