For the past 2 years, my family in Malaysia have stayed away from Covid despite having 2 kids in daycare, and 10 people living in the same house for the most part of last year. The lucky streak finally came to an end this past April. From 3 to 93 years old, 12 out of 15 in the family tested positive after a family gathering on my first weekend home. Spoiler alert, I was one of the 3 lucky ones (*touch wood*). Now, let's recap what happened…
I brought a thermometer and 8 test kits from the US and wasn't expecting to use them all, but they certainly came in handy during this home trip.
Day 0: 🤒😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀
It all started with one kid having fever on the day of our family gathering. We all took it for granted that it was just a normal fever (coz the kids get sick every now and then). I was the only one wearing mask in the house. In fact, I contemplated not wearing a mask at home this time around but since I had just met up with some friends and dined-in at a restaurant the night before(for the 1st time in 2 years) , I decided to keep my mask on just in case. The only time I took off my mask was during dinner, for about 1.5 hours, and when I was sleeping.
Day 1: 🤒😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀
The next day, the kids' school called to inform that one of the students from another class and his/her entire family had Covid so the school was shutting down for a whole week for sanitization. That was the first hint of what's to come next. The kid was still sick but tested negative on the rapid test. I had my workcation booked for the next 5 nights so mom dropped me off at the hotel in the evening. I did a rapid test that night to make sure I was negative before meeting my friend for breakfast the next morning (luckily she cancelled last minute and we didn't meet up else she'd be a close contact).
Day 2: 😷😷😷😷😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀
The first positive case in the family was detected in the morning when Adult #1 did the rapid test before going into the office. In the evening, Kid #1, Kid #2, and Adult #2 tested positive as well. Symptoms for all were runny nose, cough, and fever. We immediately discussed quarantine plans as there were still 4 people (including 2 high risk adults) in the house who tested negative. The conclusion was for the positive ones to quarantine in the 3rd floor. The other 4 also quarantined in the other rooms and wore masks and gloves when they were out in the common areas. We also notified the relatives we met over the weekend to test themselves (thankfully none of them got it as they were wearing masks when we met).
Day 3: 😷😷😷😷😷😷😷🤒🤒🤒😀😀😀😀😀
I did a rapid test first thing in the morning and was negative, no symptoms. Adult #3 who live in a separate house was scheduled to have a cataract surgery that day and had to do a rapid test before the surgery. No symptom but the rapid test came back positive so the surgery had to be postponed. We started thinking about logistics as there is another high risk adult in that house. Our plan was dependent on whether the other high risk adult in the house was also positive. I was the designated 'rapid tester'. Mom picked me up from the hotel, we picked up Adult #3 from the hospital and headed home. I was double masked and kept the car windows opened the whole time. I helped Adult #4 with the rapid tests and it was positive with no symptom. In a way, it made the logistics arrangement easier coz they could both quarantine in the house together but we were more concerned about them because they are both high risk. Before heading back to the hotel, I bought and dropped off fever patch for the kids and helped Adult #5 with the rapid test, another positive with no symptom. 3 other adults living in 2 separate houses started having symptoms (sore throat, cough, fever, stuffy nose, body aches) but still negative. The ones with symptoms started taking paracetamol and chinese meds.
Day 4: 😷😷😷😷😷😷😷😷😷😷🤒😀😀😀😀
Adult #6 & #7 who had symptoms the day before tested positive in the morning. Adult #5 who was positive but asymptomatic the day before started having runny nose and sore throat. Adult #8 did a PCR test and also tested positive with more serious symptoms - severe headache, chills, backache, runny nose, slight cough. At this point, 6 out of 8 people in one house had tested positive, so the remaining 2 stayed quarantined in one room. Meanwhile in the other house where 2 out of 4 tested positive, the ones tested positive stayed quarantined in the room and wore PPE in common areas. However, another adult started having symptoms - chills, lethargic, dizziness and cough.
Day 5: 😷😷😷😷😷😷😷😷😷😷😷😀😀😀😀
Adult #8 woke up in the morning with chest pain, loss of taste, and thought about going to the hospital but ended up just resting at home. Adult #9 who had symptoms the day before also tested positive. I did another rapid test for myself in the afternoon and was still negative with no symptoms. I brought a thermometer so I was able to test my temperature twice a day to make sure I had no fever.
Day 6: 😷😷😷😷😷😷😷😷😷😷😷😷😀😀😀
Adult #10 started having symptoms in the morning and was vomiting but no fever. I received a call from the Health Ministry asking about Adult #3 and #4 conditions, coz I hadn't been updating their MySejahtera daily...whoops. The Health Ministry staff asked me to bring them for check-up the next day but since they had no serious symptoms, we decided not to go and expose them to more virus. I checked out of the hotel in the afternoon, bought some groceries, and went home to help Adult #10 with the rapid test. It was positive. At this point, excluding myself, each of the 2 houses only had 1 person who was still negative. I continued my self-isolation at another condo for the next 7 days.
Day 7: 😀😀😀😷😷😷😷😷😷😷😷😷😀😀😀
I was tasked to bring the other adult in the house who was still negative for a medical check up in the morning. Unfortunately, we didn't make an appointment beforehand so we had to do it another day. Even though I was self-isolating away from my family, I still tried my best to help some. It wasn't possible to completely 'socially distance' from my family when I went home to help so I did my best to be careful by double masking, frequently sanitizing, washed my hands, and took a shower as soon as I got home. Frustration started growing in the house but a little good news for the day - Kid #1, Kid #2, and Adult #2 finally tested negative on day 6th since their first positive test, day 7th and 8th since symptoms began.
Day 8: 😀😀😀😀😷😷😷😷😷😷😷😷😀😀😀
Another day in quarantine but everyone was already feeling much better and recovered. Some still had some cough but the worst part is over. The one who lost the taste still couldn't taste anything...lol! Adult #1 tested negative on day 7th since the first positive test and since symptoms began.
Day 9: 😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😷😷😷😷😀😀😀
I took the other adult in the house who was still negative for a medical check up in the morning and successfully completed everything after going to 2 different clinics. Adult #6 tested negative on day 6th since tested positive, day 8th since symptoms began. I didn't test Adult #3, #4, and #5 but based on the trend, I believe they were negative too.
Day 10 - 12: 😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀
Adult #1 was instructed to return to office on Day 10. The other adults who were able to work from home also started working. Since everyone in the family (apart from the kids under 5) have received their booster dose, the 'official' isolation period ended for after 7 days. The loss of taste person still couldn't taste but other than that, everyone was good.
Day 13: 😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀
Now that everyone has recovered, it was finally time for me to go home! We got someone to come to the house to do a full sanitization so the house was also Covid-free! I only had 3 more weeks at home before returning to the US and didn't want to risk catching the virus (and waste more time) so I continued wearing a mask at home for the entire time.
Apr 9-22: The many double lines we saw within one week.
That's all for our family's Covid outbreak 'adventure'. We knew this day would come at some point and there is never a good time for this to happen. Yes, this outbreak derailed some of our plans and took some family time away from me, but I'm just thankful that nobody in the family had any serious symptoms, especially all the high risk adults. I believe that the fact that everyone in the family was fully vaccinated and boosted certainly helped with the fast recovery. As for me, the KF94 mask was my obvious saving grace. Lesson learnt...mask up, vaccinate, stay safe, stay healthy, and stay 'negative', so that you can spend time with your loved ones. =)