Case no.118: A Filipina domestic worker refuses to be defeated by COVID-19

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Alhambra with her doctor. Picture from her FB post

She was known as case no. 118 and the fifth Filipina domestic worker in Hong Kong who tested positive for COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus.

But if there is anything Jinkie Alhambra should be remembered for, it’s that she is a fighter.

Alhambra, who contracted the virus on March 10, decided to go public with her story “to raise awareness.”

The domestic worker and Muay Thai athlete said she got the disease after her employer went to India and came back already feeling “under the weather” on Feb. 29.

Her employer, case no.117, was part of at least six people who tested positive for COVID-19 after they took part in a tour to India in February.

“My employer came back from a 3-week tour of India last Feb.23 and stayed til Feb.29 before taking a flight to Canada where they usually resides,” Alhambra said in her public Facebook post on March 15.

She gave her permission to Hong Kong News to write about her account.

“She somehow already felt a bit “under the weather”. Two days prior going back to Canada, she was feverish and suspects that it just a common cold/flu. March 2, two days after arriving in Canada, she fell really sick and was hospitalized and tested positive for Covid-19.”

Alhambra said she started to feel some symptoms on March 4. These include a sore throat and headache, which she said cannot be alleviated by any pain reliever. She then started to have dry cough and mild fever.

She was supposed to be sent to quarantine but because she has a low-grade fever, she was directly sent to Queen Mary hospital in Pok Fu Lam for treatment.

On March 10, she tested positive for COVID-19.

Alhambra then detailed what she went through, the tests she took, the medical personnel who attended to her with care and the unrelenting spirit of positivity which she embraced as the days went by.

On March 20, she said that there has been a major positive development.

“NO MORE urinalysis,sputum collection and rectal swabs. Also off from the “WIRES” that restricts my movement. As per my Doctor, I am responding very well with the drugs and that my body is really THE ONE AT WORK during this whole process,” she said.

She also tried to infuse levity to her situation, saying she looks forward to having bulalo, a popular Filipino dish and to eating meals from Jollibee again, a fastfood restaurant beloved by Filipinos.

Alhambra looks forward to being released soon, but as of now, she remains in confinement along with six other Filipinos who are also still recuperating from the illness.

“My VIRAL LOAD are going haywire.. nag-ne-negative siya tapos mag-po-positive uli.. kaya wla pa sure na araw as to when nila ako release,” she told Hong Kong News on March 24.

She has one message though for Filipinos: fight and don’t let the disease defeat you.