After more than five weeks in quarantine at Caura Hospital, having tested positive for covid19 on March 16, Olympic-bound cyclist Kwesi Browne has recovered from the virus.
The 26-year old expressed relief after being officially discharged from the Home of Football Wellness Centre in Couva – now a step-down facility to house asymptomatic patients recovering from coronavirus – at around 9.30 pm on Thursday.
Browne was warded at Caura when he was admitted, then transferred to Couva on Wednesday night.
There, he received the welcome news that his most recent test returned a negative result.
The standard protocol for discharge is that if a patient has two negative tests within 24 hours, they are given clearance to go home.
However, doctors have asked him to stay in self-quarantine for the next seven days to monitor whether any more flu-like symptoms appear.
“It’s good to finally be home after so long,” Browne said on Friday. “Everyone is happy that I was discharged, and it really is good to be back.
"Once I don’t redevelop any flu-like symptoms or anything like that within the next couple days, I should be able to resume training gradually from next week.”
Browne was the 2016 Pan American Track Cycling Championships men’s keirin bronze medallist.
He returned from a lengthy but successful Olympic qualifying campaign in early March after competing at several meets on the European circuit. He then took part in the men’s sprint event on the opening night of the TT Cycling Federation National Cycling Championships on March 11 and placed second behind fellow Olympic debutant, Nicholas Paul.
The very next day, he began vomiting and was tested for covid19. Three days later, he tested positive and was admitted to Caura as TT’s fifth confirmed case of covid19.
Browne’s confirmation meant several officials and athletes of the sport who had been in contact with him at the championships had to self-quarantine for fear of spreading the virus.
Browne said he never had any major flu-like symptoms.
He was tested several times after he was first admitted to hospital and all the results were positive.
“I did some physical exercises every day, so I kept busy with some training a bit. I was not feeling too sick or anything.
"But it was challenging at times being in there alone without any family and friends.
"The nurses actually helped me out a lot while I was there. My parents always delivered home-cooked food for me so I was okay.
"The toughest part for me was that I was unsure when I would be able to leave,” he said.
Before he was hospitalised, Browne earned a spot for TT in the men’s keirin event at the now-rescheduled Tokyo Olympic Games. With the new date tentatively set for July 23 - August 8, 2021, the Arima Wheelers cyclist sees this as a blessing in disguise.
“Considering what I have been through the past couple weeks, the new Olympic date has worked in my favour. I will definitely have some more time to prepare and return to intense training as soon as I can. Heavier training will come gradually though, as I need to just get past the next seven days,” he added.
After being discharged on Thursday night, Browne posted a picture of himself on Facebook captioned, “After every storm the sun will shine; for every problem there is a solution. For nothing is impossible with God.”
Reflecting on his experience over the past 38 days, he believes it was inevitable. He remains grateful to the medical staff who aided his recovery, family members, friends and supporters who sent good wishes and most importantly, God.
“We always make plans to do certain things, but it’s not always within God’s plans. God had a plan for me to go in there (hospital), which obviously was not in my plan, but the whole process actually strengthened me mentally. Maybe I needed some time off from the bike, everything happens for a reason.
"However, right now, I cannot wait to get back on my bike.”