Vadodara: In the near month that he has spent in isolation, 19-year-old Jai Patni has tested positive for the novel coronavirus seven times.
Patni is one among dozens of positive Covid-19 patients in Vadodara’s High Speed Railway Training Institute, which has doubled up as a quarantine facility for asymptomatic patients, or those with mild symptoms of the disease.
Since his diagnosis, however, Patni has shown no symptoms whatsoever.
“No cough, no tiredness, not even a headache. I’ve felt perfectly fine since Day One,” he told ThePrint. He was standing outside his room and in the corridor that overlooks the facility’s courtyard. A lot of his time is spent hanging around the corridor, for the sake of “time-pass,” he says.
“There’s nothing to do. I pace the corridors, watch a movie, talk on the phone, play games. The days pass by,” he said. On 12 May, Patni will complete a month of being socially isolated.
He, along with his parents, tested positive for the virus on 12 April. They decided to get tested on a whim after a child in the neighbourhood passed away after falling ill. Initially, they believed coronavirus was behind his death, but it was later revealed to be dengue.
Patni, a first year student at MS College in Vadodara, and his parents live in Nagarwada, a major Covid-19 hotspot in Vadodara.
All three were then admitted to Gotri Medical College and Hospital, the city’s nodal facility for Covid-19 patients, where Patni stayed for 20 days. His parents were found negative within 13 days, and sent back home. Given his lack of symptoms, he was then shifted to the quarantine facility over a week ago.
“Initially my mom panicked and was worried about why I kept throwing up positive results. I’m not worried at all. What’s the point in stressing about this?” he said.
‘I’ll wait till I turn negative twice in a row’
A relentless positive result could be because the sensitive RT-PCR test picks up the dead virus, but so far, no doctor has explained to Patni why this might be.
According to the newest guidelines by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, asymptomatic/ mildly symptomatic patients are allowed to leave 10 days after the onset of symptoms. Under the revised guidelines, Patni would be eligible to return home, under the condition that he self-quarantines for seven days. On Saturday, the quarantine facility gave him that very choice.
But he’s chosen not to.
“I don’t want to risk reinfecting my parents. I’ll wait till I turn negative twice in a row,” Patni said. “Plus I won’t get any medical attention there. At least I can call the doctor here whenever I need.”
Patni is waiting for the results of his eighth test. He hopes it’s negative — that’s one step closer to home.