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Official southern Covid cases announced yesterday were 914, although officials believe that there are many more positive cases in the community which have not been notified to the Ministry of Health.
Seven people were in Dunedin Hospital with Covid-19 and one in Southland Hospital: none were in intensive care.
A young woman recently discharged from hospital, whom the Otago Daily Times has agreed not to name, said she was admitted after nearly collapsing with breathlessness.
"I feel absolutely terrible in all honesty," she said yesterday.
"I’m used to being unwell from autoimmune diseases, but this is a whole new level of unwell.
"Everyone who says it’s just a cold I think may be in for a very rude awakening, especially if they have any form of underlying conditions."
The 27-year-old first fell ill a fortnight ago, and, despite initially returning a negative rapid antigen test, her GP believed it was likely she had Covid-19 and contacted her daily at home, where she was in self-isolation.
"I think I’m almost lucky in a way because I have a good relationship with my GP, and he knows me and what my health is like anyway," she said.
"But some people absolutely don’t have that relationship or support and that’s what concerns me as a disabled person. I worry that because many disabled people have limited access to primary health care, that it’s not going to end well for many."
Every medical professional the woman had spoken to while she’d been unwell had told her that if she felt she needed to go to hospital then she should.
An episode where she nearly fainted, could not breathe properly and felt dizzy and confused prompted her 111 call.
"I was in hospital overnight, which stabilised me to the point where I was considered safe enough to go home on the condition that I call an ambulance if I deteriorated further.
"I was and still am of the mindset of I’d rather be miserable in my own bed than miserable in an isolation room if it’s safe for me to do so.”
The woman’s condition has been closely monitored since.
"I’d like to say to everyone who is an anti-vaxxer or Covid sceptic . . . you have no idea how you’re going to deal with it until you actually have it."
"You don’t know if you’ll develop long Covid or long-term complications."
"But if you do, and you do end up joining the disability community, we’ll welcome and support you with open arms because that’s the right thing to do," she said.
Dunedin remained the region’s Covid-19 hotspot yesterday, recording about one-third of the new cases.
However, there was a rise in new cases in Invercargill, its 130 cases now not far distant from the 183 reported in Queenstown-Lakes.
Overall, there were 9478 active cases of Covid-19 in the region yesterday, the Southern District Health Board said.
Nationally, the ministry reported 23,894 community cases of Covid-19 yesterday, and that 757 people were in hospital with the disease.