Joy FM’s Gary Al-Smith tests positive for Covid-19

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A journalist at the Multimedia Group Limited (MGL), Gary Al Smith has revealed that he has tested positive for the Coronavirus disease (Covid-19) and was currently receiving treatment at the University of Ghana Medical Centre (UGMC) in Accra.

Al Smith is one of five staff at the Accra office of the media company who have tested positive for the disease and are asymptomatic and have been isolated.

The management of the company has since put out a statement explaining the positive cases at its premises in Accra were discovered after contact tracing by the Ghana Health Service (GHS).

“The affected team members, who were all asymptomatic, have been isolated in line with case management protocols…we can report that they are all hale and hearty and are responding well to treatment,” the MGL said in the statement.

Gary Al Smith, opening up on his case explained he was asymptomatic [producing or showing no symptoms.]

He indicated his move to go public was his “small way of battling the stigmatization problem we face in the country [Ghana].”

He posted the following on Facebook.

“As per this statement, Multimedia has recorded five cases of COVID-19. I’m one of the five. After consultation with my family, we have decided that from tonight, I’ll be speaking on radio and TV about my experience.

On this page, I will be chronicling my daily experiences and how I feel, every step of the way.

My family and I believe this can be my small way of battling the stigmatization problem we face in the country.

In a radio interview with Emefa Apawu during the 6 pm news bulletin on Joy FM, Al Smith explained he has since been working [via internet] from his hospital bed.

“Covid-19 is real but yes, if you take very good care of yourself, it will not kill you, to the extent that you can even give live commentary on Joy FM,” he said amidst laughter.

He said until his revelation Thursday evening, a lot of the team members at the MGL did not even know he was Covid-19 positive because he has been chatting with them and has been working [remotely].

“I have been on programmes [via video] yesterday I was on Sports Today for 30 minutes. I did a bit of business news the other day, you know and the business news anchor did not even know, so I have been receiving great care here [UGMC] just like many patients.

He said he was currently on zinc and vitamin C and has been asked to rest as much as possible and should only do some work when he needs to.

“I only join the team [Joy Sports team via phone or internet] you know, when I feel I’ve overslept and I need to be busy, you know what they say about a dull mind, if your mind is too dull you go crazy, so you really don’t want to have that and my team, Joy Sports team have been great.”

He said the Joy Sports team have known and “they’ve worked with me… I informed them because we believe that as media practitioners we can’t ask people to do as we say but not as we do, so it’s important that we take responsibility that I have Covid-19 and we put it out. So my team has known and they’ve worked with me throughout the period.”

Al Smith added that as the days go on, he will be sharing his story on a daily basis with the rest of the world.

I cannot emphasise how amazing, you hear that the frontline workers are great but it is not until you are part of it and you feel it too, understand the sacrifices and things that these guys do. So I’m being well taken care of at the UGMC.”

On how he got to know he was positive, Al Smith explained, “you know Multimedia had one suspected case about two weeks ago. The company sent an email and this person happened to be on the same shift with me in the evening, so as part of the precautions, I went to test somewhere last week because I felt like some small malaria feverish thing.”

“But I went to check for malaria and it was malaria but as a precaution, I just went to the nearest… hospital and I got my results a couple of days later after which we started … activating all the protocols in terms of my family and all that. My family has been in the know and before coming out to speak about it I had informed the most important people in my life, my wife, my parents…”

On how they took it, he said his mum who was more spiritual was calm. “My mum claims that she already knew even though I didn’t tell her that day because she was praying and God told her. My dad also took it very coolly as well, my wife has been incredibly supportive and I will like to publicly appreciate her and tell her how much I appreciate her support and her decision to give me permission to talk about it because trust me, if my wife had not given me permission I wouldn’t have.”

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