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NI woman with coronavirus Clionagh Lynch fears she could have her first child without husband being there


Clionagh and Ciaran Lynch

Clionagh and Ciaran Lynch

Clionagh and Ciaran Lynch

A heavily pregnant woman is facing the prospect of giving birth to her first child without her husband after they both tested positive for Covid-19.

Clionagh and Ciaran Lynch, who live close to the location of a karaoke party that sparked a Covid-19 outbreak, found out on Saturday that they have the virus - despite having no symptoms.

It means that if 27-year-old Clionagh, who is due on Monday, goes into labour before the end of the seven-day isolation period, joiner Ciaran (28) will not be allowed to accompany her to hospital.

The case has highlighted the importance of Northern Ireland's trace, test and isolate programme as the pair had no Covid-19 symptoms.

Clionagh, who owns Ros Oir Boutique on the main street in Dungiven, took the decision to go public with her diagnosis to warn customers that they may also be at risk.

A number of the couple's relatives have also been tested, with everyone so far getting the all clear.

Clionagh explained: "It's mad because we thought we were doing everything right. We found out we had it because Ciaran's friend tested positive after he lost his sense of smell.

"They had travelled to golf together and then he found out he had it and rang Ciaran to let him know, and the next thing, we got a phone call from the Public Health Agency.

"We went and got tested and we were diagnosed on Saturday so we're isolating now.

"I decided to shut the shop for seven days as a precaution, we've been doing a deep clean every day anyway but we're doing another one before the shop reopens."

Clionagh said she also felt a responsibility to alert customers to her diagnosis.

"I didn't want people finding out third hand, I wanted it to come from me," she explained.

"I hadn't come into close contact with anyone in the shop, but I wanted to let people know so they could make their own decision about whether to go and get tested.

"I'm really glad I did now because everyone is coming back negative, so that's a real relief.

"I was a bit worried about my granny as I had been close to her and she is older, although she doesn't have any health conditions, but I'm so relieved she has tested negative.

"We had no idea that we had it, we haven't had any symptoms at all. I have a sinus infection but they told me that it has nothing to do with the Covid.

"We're just keeping our fingers crossed that we don't develop any symptoms and the baby doesn't move until Saturday.

"If I go into labour before then, Ciaran can't come with me and I'll have to take another birth partner, although I'm trying not to think about it and trying not to stress because worrying isn't going to change it.

"As long as the baby arrives safely and we're all healthy, that's all that really matters."

Health Minister Robin Swann said the case "underlines the importance of our Test, Trace and Protect (TTP) programme in limiting the spread of the virus in Northern Ireland".

"It is vital that everyone co-operates fully - not least in getting tested, tracing contacts and self-isolating in line with advice provided by the TTP programme," he said.

"I would like to commend the actions of this couple in this regard and thank them for their responsible approach. I wish them both a speedy recovery."

Clionagh and Ciaran were diagnosed with Covid-19 just days after it emerged that officials are working to suppress an outbreak of the virus in the Limavady area. According to most recent figures, 25 people have been diagnosed with the virus in the area in the last seven days.

It is understood that a microphone passed around a karaoke party at a house outside Limavady has been blamed for the cluster.

Clionagh, Ciaran and his friend did not attend the party.

As the number of cases in the area has risen, some organisations have closed temporarily, including 10 GAA clubs and St Mary's Church in Ardmore after two parishioners tested positive.

Belfast Telegraph