2022-04-23 16:27


My Story: A COVID-19 Case Brought to a Shanghai Warehouse

By Sophie Steiner

The last few weeks have seen Shanghai experience an unprecedented number of positive cases, leading to thousands of people in one of the biggest cities in the world being displaced and separated from their lives and family.

In this My Story interview series, we explore the first-hand and personal experiences of those among us that have been directly affected by they themselves or those around them testing positive for COVID-19.

This is an interview with a female, 27, who tested positive for COVID-19 on April 15. She was then brought to a warehouse-cum-centralized quarantine facility in the middle of the night on April 17. Here is her story.

How were you notified that you tested positive? 
I completed an antigen test at home on April 14, and saw that it was positive.

We already had one positive case in our household C she was isolating in the master bedroom until she was picked up for centralized quarantine C but I had a feeling that I would become positive soon enough. 

Because of the abnormal case in the household, we werent allowed to do PCR testing with the rest of the compound from April 3 onward.

Since my roommate hadnt been picked up, we assumed that our neighborhood committee had requested home quarantine on our behalf. After the positive antigen result, they came to test us individually, and I had another pending result.

The CDC called me the next day [April 15] to inform me I was positive. 

Preparing to be brought to centralized quarantine at 3am. Image courtesy of interviewee.

What was going through your head when you found out?
I had already been added to a group of people who had tested positive, but hadnt been picked up yet. So, at first, I thought I would not actually get picked up and would have a chance to test negative in the meantime. 

The second time they called me, I had a feeling it was more serious, so I packed a bag. I was anxious, upset and honestly very frustrated.

I tried to contact my consulate as I felt completely defeated. My consulate eventually did reach out to me through other people but explained there wasnt much that they could do.

Centralized quarantine from the outside. Image courtesy of interviewee.

Describe the timeline and experience of how you were picked up and brought to centralized quarantine. 
At 11pm on April 17, they called me to say that I was going to be picked up that night. I had heard other people were also being picked up, so I stayed awake until 2am waiting for them to arrive.

I then decided to try and sleep for a bit, and at 3am I got another call to say that I needed to come outside and get on the bus. We were on the bus until about 6am, picking up other people and waiting at the facility for them to let us in.

By the time we got to our beds it was around 6:30am.

Living area for new arrivals. Image courtesy of interviewee.

Did you have any COVID symptoms?
Around April 7-8, I had body aches, a headache and a bit of a fever. My 'symptoms' lasted less than two days, and it definitely wasnt something that in normal circumstances I would even think to take a day off work for.

Lunch meal. Image courtesy of interviewee.

Bathroom facilities. Image courtesy of interviewee.

What are the living conditions like?
The conditions are very depressing. We are in a warehouse north of Jingan. People are in close quarters and the portable bathrooms and showers are far from our beds and not very clean.

The food is normal, low-cost Chinese catering which is not terrible, but definitely not the kind of food I would normally eat to help overcome an illness.

There is no privacy. 

We still haven't taken any PCR tests. They seem to be having people do antigen tests and then doing PCR tests on people with negative antigen tests, which I believe is a better system. 

Centralized quarantine. Image courtesy of interviewee.

Are you able to move around much? 
We are able to move around and walk around the facility, but there isnt much to do except be in your bed really. 

Supplies received at check-in. Image courtesy of interviewee.

Have you ever felt unsafe during your experience?
I have not felt unsafe with regards to whether or not I would be physically harmed. However, I dont think that these conditions are optimal for people trying to get better.

Antigen test results on April 19. Image courtesy of interviewee.

Overall, what are your thoughts on the current situation?
I am 100% opposed to the zero COVID policy. Two years ago when we didnt know much about the virus and vaccines, my answer would have been different. Today, I wonder why we are not believing in science and trying to overcome this in a more logical way. 

I believe that stress is not good for the immune system, and I think that causing distressing living situations for people with or without COVID breeds fear and causes much more far reaching damage. 

Read more My Story personal accounts and experiences by scanning the QR code:

If you have a My Story experience you would like to share please email [email protected]

[Cover image by That's]

Got something you would like to promote? Contact Christy via email at [email protected] and on WeChat by scanning the QR code below:

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