Christian mission members not surprised with Covid-19 diagnosis

By Le Phuong   May 30, 2021 | 05:56 pm GMT+7
Christian mission members not surprised with Covid-19 diagnosis
Medics collect samples for Covid-19 testing around the Revival Ekklesia Mission in HCMC's Go Vap District. Photo courtesy of HCDC.
Some members of the Revival Ekklesia Mission, a Christian congregation in HCMC, suspected they had contracted Covid-19 before the infection was confirmed.

A 33-year-old woman is one of the first recorded cases in what has become a major cluster in the southern metropolis of Ho Chi Minh City.

She said that usually, she would get a headache every time her blood pressure drops. But when this happened a week or so ago, the headaches were more prominent and she felt even more tired than usual. When she visited a medical facility on May 23, the doctor prescribed vitamin C and some additional pills.

Despite taking the medicines, her fatigue stayed and the headaches were not fully gone. Her body temperature was about 38-39 degrees Celsius. After two days, she asked some healthcare workers to visit her house and give her an IV infusion of about four to five bags of glucose solution. After the infusion, she felt well, but at night she continued to have the headache and fever; and could not sleep. On the morning of May 26, she started to have difficulty breathing, and lost her sense of smell and taste. Her husband, a fellow member of the congregation, also developed a fever and sore throat and lost his sense of smell.

"At this point, I suspected that we had contracted the virus, so I urged my husband to go with me to the Gia Dinh People's Hospital for a check up."

The test results at the hospital in Binh Thanh District returned the same day, confirming her suspicions.

"I was not surprised on receiving the test results because the symptoms were very clear," she said. What made her sad was that after the couple found out they were Covid-19 positive, the health sector traced and tested the remaining three family members, her daughter and parents, and found they had also contracted the virus.

She is the most severe case in her family, being treated at the HCMC Hospital for Tropical Diseases. Four of her relatives had milder symptoms and were treated at Cu Chi Field Hospital.

Currently, she still has low fever and needs ventilation support. Since entering the hospital, she has been given IV fluids and treatment to raise her blood pressure, so she has less headache and fever.

"Fortunately, my parents and my daughter are still healthy," she said.

She expressed worry and sadness because her husband's workplace has been barricaded, causing many people to go into isolation.

A 38-year-old woman from Hoc Mon District, another member of the same religious mission, also suspected she has the virus when she went to the hospital for getting herself examined and becoming one of the first three cases of the Christian mission.

Currently, the infection chain related to the Revival Ekklesia Mission is the largest cluster in Ho Chi Minh City. Five of the patients have been detected carrying the highly contagious Indian variant.

According to the Ho Chi Minh City Center for Disease Control (HCDC), people related to this religious mission have a very high risk of infection since they gathered in a small, poorly ventilated space without wearing face masks.

City authorities have collected samples from 50,000 people living around the headquarters of the Christian mission in Go Vap District.

While officials have not yet identified the source of infection, the city continues to conduct contact tracing, taking large-scale testing samples to assess the risk.

On Saturday, the HCDC called on people who visited the church to proactively contact local healthcare centers to report, even if they had no symptoms.

As of Sunday noon, HCMC has recorded 108 confirmed local Covid-19 cases in the latest wave.

Nationwide, community transmissions have been recorded in 34 cities and provinces since April 27 as the country experiences its most challenging Covid-19 outbreak yet.

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