‘Grateful to hug my wife and kids again,’ says cop who beat Covid-19

18 June 2020 - 12:15 By Iavan Pijoos
Lowellan West, his wife Cleo and their son Hudson-Blu. The two other children, Cohen and Willow O'Neal West, are from his previous marriage.
Lowellan West, his wife Cleo and their son Hudson-Blu. The two other children, Cohen and Willow O'Neal West, are from his previous marriage.
Image: Lowellan West

There is no greater joy than being able to hug and kiss your wife and children again, says a Cape Town police officer who has overcome Covid-19.

“More than anything, being able to hug my wife and kiss the kids made me feel complete again. This isolation made me feel helpless and gave me the idea that I can’t provide or protect my family, so returning back to doing what I used to do was a great achievement,” Lowellan West told TimesLIVE on Thursday.

West, who is based in the Western Cape where infections and deaths are surging ahead of the other provinces, tested positive for the virus at the end of May.

Before getting the test result he had received 1,000 cloth face masks from his church in Durbanville and had started distributing them among colleagues.

Three days later, a colleague tested positive for the virus and he decided to get tested. The result was positive.

West said officers had received personal protective equipment from the force but the donation from the church was an extra precaution.

He had no symptoms at the time, but later experienced headaches and fever and was in isolation at home.

On Sunday, police minister Bheki Cele said 14 police officers had died from Covid-19.

He said more than 600 officers have recovered from the virus and are back "serving our communities”.

Lowellan West during a roadblock in Cape Town.
Lowellan West during a roadblock in Cape Town.
Image: Lowellan West

For West, the most difficult part of the road to recovery was being isolated from his “beautiful wife” and children who stood by him after he tested positive.

“Emotionally it can kill one's spirit.”

He said the virus also prevented him from seeing his other two children from a previous marriage.

But all of that has since changed.

West said he went for a second test on June 9 and his results came back negative on June 12.

“It was definitely a feeling of joy and just the relief of not having to worry was probably the biggest reward. My wife and kids made all of this possible, the support structure I had and still have were the things that kept me hopeful,” West said.

He reported back to work on Monday.

“Don't let this Covid-19 get to your mind or overtake your thoughts. When you isolate don’t just stay in one room, try to go about your day as any other normal day, just stay clear of family for their safety.

“If you lose this battle in the mind your chances of fighting the virus will be so much more tougher,” he said.


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