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TGH Exclusive: Greek Cypriot woman who recovered from COVID-19 speaks out about her experience

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By Argyro Vourdoumpa.

Almost a month after recovering from COVID-19 and reuniting with her family, Greek Cypriot Rebecca Cannizzaro Louca, who is believed to be South Australia’s first locally acquired case of coronavirus, shared her experience with The Greek Herald.

“My symptoms started on Tuesday afternoon (March 21) with a tickle in my throat. I could feel my face getting hot and I knew I had a temperature. I felt exhausted so I went to bed early. Through the night my body was aching so much that I kept tossing and turning,” said the 50-year-old mother and grandmother.

“The next morning, I still had a temperature and rang the doctor to see if I could get an appointment. They were booked out. I was very fatigued. My husband and daughter recommended that I get checked for COVID-19. My husband took me to the Royal Adelaide Hospital and the test came out positive.”

In a plea to keep the community safe and urge people to take COVID-19 seriously, Cannizzaro Louca, had spoken exclusively to The Greek Herald from her hospital bed.

“Never in a million years did I expect to come back with a positive result…No need to panic, just be smart. If you’re showing symptoms get tested,” she said back then.

Now, after more than a month in isolation and away from her family, Rebecca has come out the other side. She is one of more than 5,000 Australians who’ve recovered so far from COVID-19.

Greek Cypriot, Rebecca Cannizzaro, has recovered from COVID-19 at Royal Adelaide Hospital.

Life in isolation for a month:

After spending a week at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, Rebecca chose to self-isolate in one of Adelaide’s quarantine hotels for a further three weeks.

“I was still infectious and was still coughing quite a bit. It would be hard to self-isolate at home and I had to protect my mum who has advanced lung cancer and was also diagnosed with pneumonia while I was unwell,” she said.

During her self-isolation at the hotel, Rebecca was in touch with SA Health.

“They would ask about my symptoms and I would give them two readings of my temperature. I ended up staying longer at the hotel because of my cough,” said Cannizzaro Louca, explaining that due to her mother’s frail health she insisted on getting rechecked after she got the first negative test.

The second test also came through as negative and Rebecca returned home.

Is Rebecca immune to COVID-19?

The doctors at the Royal Adelaide Hospital did not tell Rebecca if she could get reinfected with the coronavirus, nor if she could be a carrier again.

“They haven’t really said if I’m immune to COVID-19. I think this is all fairly new to them so it’s hard for them to know. They have said that I need to be careful as it takes a while to recover and that I have lower immunity,” she said.

According to a statement the World Health Organization (WHO) released on April 24, there is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection.

Life after the coronavirus battle:

Rebecca is now focusing on her health, her elderly mother and her loved ones.

“Through this experience, I realised that I need to do more to look after myself and take things more seriously,” she said.

“At first I thought I was the unluckiest person to get it but if anyone in my family was going to get it, this would have to be me. I joke with my husband saying that I’m the glue that holds this family together.

“I’m one of the lucky ones. Things could have been a lot worse.”

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