There were difficult days for Edilmarys Hechavarría Aguilar, third officer of the Alicia ship, which arrived in Matanzas on June 6. After seven months away from home, nothing made him more excited than being able to be with his own and on the mainland, distances were shortened, but his anxiety grew.
Las Tunas, Cuba.- A positive diagnosis for Sars-CoV-2 robbed him of the promise of the imminent reunion and there, at the military hospital in the City of the Bridges, he had to remain until he was clinically discharged; a wait that was probably eternalized.
Now, from the tranquility of the home, he tells us how he lived those days when he faced the COVID-19. "Although there was a possibility, he says, none of the crew imagined that we would have the disease because we were asymptomatic. Since the pandemic began, we had taken the measures onboard and in reality, we had been without touching land for more than five months.”
He confesses that the result surprised everyone, but the response of the Public Health system was immediate: “The best thing in Cuba is medical care and the will of the staff. We were very well taken care of and there was no margin to feel that fear: we knew that we were going to get ahead. Also, I did not experience the symptoms of the disease, only the reaction of some medications that are very strong.
“You arrive with the desire to see the children and you promise that tomorrow you will be back, that we will spend the birthday together ... and so many other plans. It is hard to tell them suddenly that they must wait and know that your life is in danger. Although everything was going well, anything could happen.”
Edilmarys, graduated from Bachelor of Nautical Sciences, was responsible for ensuring safety on the ship and the optimal conditions of the rescue means and other resources to face any eventuality. "We know our mission and actually get sick now, but it could have been since the pandemic started," he says.
“Before we were in Venezuela, there was also extreme care, but there was the risk of contagion as in almost all places of the world; unfortunately it happened in Mexico. There are work events in which contact with people is inevitable, and it happened.”
He says that as the days passed, some of his colleagues showed signs of the COVID-19, but without complications. However, concern was always latent, as most sailors were over five decades old. "Only five or six of us were young," this 36-year-old from Las Tunas points out.
In a telephone exchange with the ship's captain, Mario Colás Martínez, a resident of Havana, we learned that all members of the crew remain isolated in their homes, continuing the treatment. After completing the 14-day period, they will once again perform the real-time PCR and only then they will receive the final epidemiological discharge.
Edilmarys highlights that he has been well assisted by professionals from the Gustavo Aldereguía polyclinic, in Las Tunas. According to the health authorities, this positive case, with a source of contagion abroad, does not influence the incidence rate of the province, taking into account that he did not pose any risk to its inhabitants.
Sitting in the doorway of his house, next to the children who do lose him neither foot nor footstep and whom he describes as his best nurses, Edilmarys now remembers the recent days as those suspense films, although he lived in his own flesh. "But this movie, he says, has had a happy ending."