The wide smile of 32-year-old Reshma Mohandas can be sensed despite a mask on her face. It has been a little over twenty days since Ms Reshma, a nurse at Kottayam Medical College in Kerala, returned to work after recovering from COVID-19 and completing a mandatory post recovery quarantine period.
Ms Reshma caught the infection around the same time as an elderly couple she was treating recovered.
"I had developed minor flu-like symptoms. But, I was a part of the team treating COVID-19 patients, the protocol required me to inform the head nurse immediately. I did so, I was tested the same day and isolated in the hospital. I wasn't scared, but my husband still mentally prepared me and completely supported me for any situation", Ms Reshma recalled while speaking to NDTV.
For nurses and medical staff on COVID-19 duty, hostel arrangements were provided for by the hospital administration. "We all worked as a team and supported each other," Ms Reshma added.
"It was extremely difficult for me the day she was tested positive. We both have elderly parents. She was not with us. We didn't tell our mothers when she tested positive. Even from our family, just two of us would regularly call her, humour her and keep her spirits high", Unnikrishnan KS, the nurse's husband told NDTV.
The 32-year-old recalled that she was shifted from the ICU duty to the COVID-19 patients' ward as the cases increased.
"I was on the ICU duty. But, as patients increased, I was shifted to treat COVID-19 patients. The day I was joining my duty, I was told that we would be treating this elderly couple. They were the first COVID-19 patients I was treating," she said.
Ms Reshma also said that she didn't "face any scarcity" while discharging her duties.
"We were a team of 16 people, including cleaning staff. I had a four-hour duty wearing the PPE kit, and after shift hours, we were allowed to exit the hospital only after we had our bath and changed. We didn't face any scarcity. If we needed something, we would inform our head nurse, she would inform concerned officials , and by evening we would get the supply", the nurse said.
Kerala was among the first states in India to report the deadly virus infection, but it has also earned global praise for having effectively managed to contain the outbreak and ensure a high recovery rate compared to other regions.
On May 8, Kerala had declared that it had "flattened the curve", but hours later, the state detected more positive COVID-19 cases among those who were airlifted by the Centre from other countries under its ''Vande Bharat'' mission. There are 26 positive cases in the state while 4 people have died due to the disease.