South Africa wished United States Ambassador Lana Marks a quick recovery Thursday after she spent weeks in intensive care battling the coronavirus.
“It is with much gratitude and relief that we write to wish you continued health as you recover from COVID-19,” Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said in a statement.
Marks tested positive for the virus last month after experiencing symptoms including fever, a sore throat, fatigue, and chills.
She said earlier this week that she was transferred to a hospital on advice from the US medical team at the embassy after her symptoms worsened.
“I was admitted to the hospital to seek supplemental oxygen and therapeutic treatment. Shortly after admission on December 28, I was moved to the ICU where I remained for ten days before spending three more days in the COVID-19 unit,” she said Monday.
“I will forever be grateful for the excellent level of care that I received from the South African doctors and nurses who tended to me in the hospital,” said Marks. “I am just one of tens of thousands of COVID-19 patients that South Africa’s healthcare workers and hospitals have treated with the utmost professionalism, putting their own lives at risk in order to practice their calling.”
She said that she shared her story with the world to de-stigmatize discussions around COVID-19. “Only through sharing information about the virus can we understand how to prevent its spread and treat it,” she said.
Marks has since been discharged and continues to receive care at home where her condition is improving and doctors are confident she will make a full recovery.
Mkhize said the virus has affected all people personally, through family, friends or colleagues.
“As the minister of health it brings us great comfort to know that our healthcare professionals were there for you in your time of need, performing their functions in a manner buffeting your commendation,” Mkhize said in a letter to the ambassador.
South Africa has the highest number of infections on the continent with 1,278,303 and 35,140 fatalities.
It is the sixteenth most affected country globally.