Coronavirus: Whiteley NHS worker, 30, returns home after five days in hospital with Covid-19 and pneumonia

AN NHS worker who contracted coronavirus and pneumonia has told of the toll it has taken on his physical and mental health.

Wednesday, 25th March 2020, 6:00 am

Nathan Cliford, 30, from Whiteley was admitted by ambulance to Southampton General Hospital on Monday last week after he recorded a heart rate of 120 and had a cough.

He spent five days on a ward wearing an oxygen mask and was told he had pneumonia and Covid-19.

Latest figures from Public Health England show 171 cases in Hampshire, 25 in Portsmouth and 11 in Southampton.

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Nathan Clifford from Whiteley who is 30, has just come out of Souithampton General Hospital after spending 5 days there with Covid-19 and pneumonia

Last night Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust medical director Dr John Knighton said seven more people with Covid-19 died at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham

The four women and three men were aged between 78 and 93, all had underlying health conditions.

Nathan, who works at Southern Health NHS Trust in the transformation team, was discharged and is recovering at home.

He has schizoaffective disorder which can cause symptoms of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

He told The News: ‘It was worrying to have such a high heart rate and a cough which kept getting worse. Breathing was the hardest part as it felt like drowning.

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‘I felt absolutely exhausted the whole time but it really affected my mental health badly as I was alone for five days with no visitors.

‘Part of my disorder means I can hear voices and so being in a hospital was really bad but I am now home and self-isolating with my girlfriend.’

The number of recovered cases across Hampshire is unknown but Southampton General Hospital reported last week that patients had been recovering and been discharged.

As of yesterday out of 6,650 cases, 135 patients were reported to have recovered while 335 patients have died with the virus.

NHS staff up and down the country have been praised for their dedication to their patients during the pandemic.

Nathan said: ‘The ambulance staff and those in the hospital have been absolutely amazing. It was a busy ward with a several other patients but we were all separated and it didn’t feel like any of the staff were panicking.

‘They seemed to be in quite good spirits at the nurses station and there was a sense of good morale between everyone which was amazing.’

Nathan was left overwhelmed by the support he had from social media after he tweeted about his admission.

He said: ‘I was really struggling to stay away from rabbit hole paranoid thinking and slipping into a really dark place.

‘It is easy for the voices to take over the space but the support has literally blown me away and shows how good social media can be.’

Nathan’s girlfriend, Lisa, also praised the messages of support the couple had received online.

The 30-year-old said: ‘These really have been a positive lift for him at times when it’s been hard to stay in.

‘I really struggled a couple of days ago with staying in and felt trapped in my own flat.

‘You just have to change your perspective and and support each other.’

Yesterday Nathan tweeted: ‘Short walk today. Maybe a bit to early. Lungs feel like they are actually on fire.

‘But was good to go out and stretch my legs.’

Coronavirus: the facts

What is coronavirus?

Covid-19 is a respiratory illness that can affect lungs and airways. It is caused by a virus called coronavirus.

What caused coronavirus?

The outbreak started in Wuhan in China in December 2019 and it is thought that the virus, like others of its kind, has come from animals.

How is it spread?

As this is such a new illness, experts still aren’t sure how it is spread. But similar viruses are spread in cough droplets. Therefore covering your nose and mouth when sneezing and coughing, and disposing of used tissues straight away is advised. Viruses like coronavirus cannot live outside the body for very long.

What are the symptoms?

The NHS states that the symptoms are: a dry cough, high temperature and shortness of breath - but these symptoms do not necessarily mean you have the illness. Look out for flu-like symptoms, such as aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose and a sore throat. It’s important to remember that some people may become infected but won’t develop any symptoms or feel unwell.

What precautions can be taken?

Washing your hands with soap and water thoroughly. The NHS also advises to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze; put used tissues in the bin immediately and try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell. Also avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth unless your hands are clean.

Sources: World Health Organisation and NHS