I was Quarantined at Mumbai’s Kasturba Hospital. Here’s My Story
(Abira Dhar is The Quint's Entertainment Reporter. She was quarantined at Mumbai's Kasturba Hospital on her return from New York. She narrates her experience after testing negative for COVID-19.)
I was travelling to New York, from 5th of March till 8th of March. I landed in Mumbai on the 9th. At Mumbai airport, they checked for my temperature. Every passenger who lands there has to go through screening. And then 10th March was Holi. 11th March, in the morning, I got a call from Dr Reena. She introduced herself as Dr Reena and said that "Ma'am, you have been travelling. We have your details. This is your passport number. We wanted to find out if you have any symptoms. Do you have a cold, fever, cough?"
And I coincidentally woke up with a sore throat.
So I told her, "Ma'am I have a sore throat," and she tells me, "You need to go for a checkup to Kasturba hospital."
Around 11:30 am, I reach Kasturba hospital. So I went in, went to the help desk and asked them where should I go for the test and they guided me, "Madam go ahead and take a left and go straight from there and you will reach."
I went in and the moment I took a left, there was a cop standing there. And he stopped me and he asked for my details. Basically you are not allowed to cross that line unless you're going for a test. This is to ensure no regular patient or a visitor ends up at the quarantine ward. He guided me to, "take a right from ahead."
I found 10 people standing in a queue. Everything looked very smooth, no panic, nothing. Everybody was very quiet. I went in and the doctor asked me a few details. What dates were you travelling? Where were you travelling to? What's your age and where do you stay? And what is your symptom? Then she gave me a slip and guided me to another person who was sitting on a computer. I went there and the person made a card for me.
He asked for my full address, people who might stay with me, my age and all other details. And he said, "Madam, you have to get admitted. It's just a test, but it takes 24 hours for the results to come and we will not let you go till the reports come in."
Now, I was not prepared for this. A ward boy came in and he took us to ward number 9 where people who are there to get themselves tested are getting admitted. The first thing that I noticed when I entered the ward was that it was super clean. Yes, the beds were a little rusted, old, but it was super clean. They were around 30 beds, and there were very few people, like three people, four people in the ward. That's it.
The next thing that I noticed was the bathrooms. The bathrooms were very clean, which I didn't expect. So I called my husband asked him to get me food and water. Of course, there was water there, but I wanted my own water. He came and he was not allowed inside the premises. He passed on the food, and I collected it from the ward boy.
In half an hour, the doctor came in completely covered in a hazmat suit, he took a swab test.
And now the waiting game started. So we waited.
Some said it will come by seven o'clock in the evening, some said it will come next day seven o'clock in the evening, we had no clue what was happening. While waiting, there are so many things that were going on my head, I was thinking if one of us here is tested positive, what happens?
So anyway, all these things kept going on in my head till around 11 pm when we were told that the reports are here and they called our names out.
We took our stuff, went to the nurse, they gave us a certificate, and it clearly said the report is negative. It also had a prescription on it, with lists of medicine to be taken as precautionary measures.
That's it. We were done.
So if you are going to get yourself tested, keep two things in mind. One is if you don't have symptoms, they will not test you. Okay? Even if you have travelled.
Second is if you have symptoms, you're going there, be prepared to be admitted. Take a bottle of water, sanitisers. If you want to carry sheets, please do that. Be well-prepared when you go there.
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