A woman who fell ill with the coronavirus on Friday 13 has described horror symptoms including feeling like “her body has been on fire” and a throat so sore she felt like she “had swallowed glass”.
And Mandy Charlton warns that while the hard-pressed NHS staff were still just about coping with the incredible workload “in a few weeks they won't be”.
Mandy, 46, was admitted to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle via ambulance on Friday evening temperature of more than 38C.
The mum-of-three claimed that while she was admitted to the hospital's coronavirus isolation unit upon arrival, she was “shocked” to see the porters pushing her bed to a scan weren't being given face masks.
Paramedics were having to borrow them from the wards, she claimed.
Mandy, from Newcastle, said: "One of the nurses said I was lucky to be admitted when I was.
"At the moment they're coping, but in a few weeks they won't be.
"The porters weren't even given masks.
"I asked one of them and he said the day before they'd had to wear plastic visors but then on that day, Friday, they'd been told they would be fine without any protection.
"The paramedics were having to borrow masks and aprons as they'd run out."
Mandy started feeling unwell after one of her daughters came home from school with a fever last week and believes she may have contracted the virus from her.
She spent a night in the hospital, before being discharged 12 hours later, and claims she had to use a hospital gown as a pillow because the hospital had run out.
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Mandy is now self-isolating at home until the end of the week and has been sleeping 20 hours a day and taking paracetamol to recover.
She said luckily, her children are old enough to be able to look after themselves during this period.
The single mum added: "I know my temperature was once 37.9 and once over 39. I have a weird dry cough which hurts.
"My body has felt like it has been on fire, waking up drenched, horrible.
"I've had flu before but this was something else."
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She added: "When it came to the hospital saying I was well enough to go home and self-isolate, I asked how I would get home.
"They said I could wait nine hours whilst they tried to get some isolation transport or I could ask a friend.
"I had a panic attack at that point, thankful for my best friend who risked her own health to get me home.
"I don't for one moment blame the doctors or the nurses, I wholly place the blame on the government."
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