“Stay safe and stay indoors” says Bedford woman who has recovered from coronavirus

Sarah Ashley

A woman from Bedford who has recovered from the coronavirus is urging people to heed the government advice and stay in doors.

Sarah Ashley, a family services worker, spoke to the Bedford Independent today, after she was featured in the Guardian this week.

Her aim is to share her story with as many people as possible to hammer home how important it is not to spread the virus.

“People need to listen,” said Sarah. “I had very mild symptoms, but a close friend was not so lucky and is currently being treated in Bedford Hospital.

“She’s now out of intensive care and on the mend – and I have no way of knowing if I was the person that passed the virus onto her.”

Sarah began to feel overwhelmingly tired on Tuesday 10 March, but put that down to the after-effects of a weekend away with friends. By Thursday she began coughing.

She tried to phone her GP and left a message but didn’t receive a call back. Following advice on the NHS 111 website she took her son out of school and began 14 days in isolation on Thursday 12 March.

“I took the best precautions as per the government guidelines, but I cannot possibly know how many people I came into contact with before then,” said Sarah.

“I use public transport, I visit schools and visit people’s homes as part of my job. There are hundreds of poole who have had coronavirus without displaying symptoms, who any of us could have come into contact with.”

Sarah’s message is clear: follow the government’s advice and stay indoors to protect yourself and others.

“It’s not worth it for your friends, your family, for the NHS workers or the vulnerable people in your community,” she said.

In order to reach as many people has possible, Sarah shared a heart-felt video on her Facebook page, which has now been viewed thousands of times.

“We just need to stay at home. You should act as if you’ve got the virus and could pass it on.”

Sarah’s symptoms included loss of appetite, tiredness, a dry cough, tightness in the chest and conjunctivitis-like inflammation of the eye.

“I didn’t have a temperature but my body definitely felt like it was trying to fight something.”

Now fully recovered, Sarah is back at work and, as she’s a key worker, her son has returned to school.

“As an essential worker I’m working from home, organising food parcels for families, ringing vulnerable teenagers that we look after and keeping as much communication going as possible,”she said.

“I’ve also signed up to the Council’s community hub to volunteer for a couple of hours a day. I want to do as much as I can to help fight this virus and spread the word that we all need to stay safe – for our own sake and for others’.”

Stay at home: you should only leave the house for 1 of 4 reasons:

  • shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible
  • one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household
  • any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
  • travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home

All up-to-date guidance can be found on Bedford Borough Council’s dedicated COVID-19 website.

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