Hospital celebrates the discharge of elderly couple who, together, survived COVID-19

Cape Town couple in their 90s surprised to learn that they were in hospital together

Wednesday, September 23 2020

Netcare N1 City Hospital in Cape Town is celebrating the discharge of a senior citizen couple, Neville and Iris Adams, aged 91 and 90 respectively, who were both admitted with COVID-19 around the same time without even knowing it.

“Neville Adams was admitted on 16 August and his wife Iris a week later on 21 August, neither realising at first that they were just a room away from one another, both being treated in isolation in line with Netcare protocols. Mr Adams was astonished and excited to learn that his wife was also admitted with him, doing well in her recovery and being cared for just next door,” says one of the couple’s treating physicians, Dr Zia Els.

“Given their age and the fact that both have underlying medical conditions — Iris has diabetes and hypertension and Neville has kidney problems — we were deeply concerned about them when they were admitted. I am delighted to say, however, that they both did remarkably well and are continuing to recover strongly at home after being discharged home together on Spring Day, 1 September,” adds Dr Els.

Pic: Neville and Iris Adams, aged 91 and 90 respectively, who were both being cared for at Netcare N1 City Hospital for COVID-19 around the same time without even knowing it, pictured at their discharge.

“We’re going home,” said an excited Mr Adams on the couple’s discharge. “We had quite an experience but are both feeling much better now. The doctors and staff at the hospital treated us exceptionally well and we are deeply grateful to all of them.”

Netcare N1 City Hospital’s acting general manager, Morné Kielblock, reports that the hospital staff members and doctors gave the couple a rousing send-off with a ‘guard of honour’ when they were discharged and are rejoicing in their recovery.

“Under the watchful eye of our outstanding medical and nursing teams, both these senior citizens survived the virus. It was a great privilege for us to treat such a brave couple and a morale booster for all of the doctors and staff to be able to send them home safely,” he adds.

Dr Els says that Mrs Adams was admitted with very similar symptoms to her husband and both were initially dependent on oxygen. Mr Adams also had to spend the first few days in the high care unit of the hospital.

“The team treated them conservatively using less invasive ventilation techniques, to which they both responded well. The multi-disciplinary treatment teams at the hospital have used a conservative approach regarding ventilation where possible for COVID-19 patients throughout the pandemic and have achieved excellent results and outcomes,” she adds.

“I would like to thank all of the doctors and staff at the hospital for their outstanding work over the pandemic and particularly like to thank the nursing staff, who have worked so tirelessly and bravely to ensure that their patients were well cared for.”

While the pandemic looks to be on the wane in South Africa, the numbers of COVID-19 admissions at the hospital have also reduced significantly.

“Quite a few of the patients we have admitted over the pandemic have been younger and some have not had any chronic conditions, such as diabetes, which can add to the risks of suffering complications from COVID-19, particularly if not well managed. This reinforces that the virus does not discriminate and can affect persons of any age.

Dr Els urged the public to remain vigilant and to continue following the prescribed precautions, such as maintaining social distancing, wearing masks and seeking medical assistance should they require it. “We wish to emphasise the need for absolute caution, particularly as there is much we are still learning about the virus.”

“We particularly advise patients with chronic and other medical conditions to not avoid seeing their doctors or visiting the hospital emergency department due to concerns about COVID-19 should they require treatment. If you have a chronic condition, stay in touch with your specialist and ensure that your health remains properly managed,” she advises.

“This will assist in ensuring that you don’t develop complications and damage your health over the long term. Netcare N1 City Hospital continues to maintain comprehensive COVID-19 precautionary measures to safely care for patients, so they should rest assured that we remain at their service should they require it,” concludes Dr Els.


To find out more about the services offered through Netcare hospitals and other of the Group’s facilities, please visit or contact the Netcare customer service centre either by email at [email protected] or phone 0860 NETCARE (0860 638 2273). Note that the centre operates Mondays to Fridays from 08:00 to 16:00.

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For more information on this media release, contact MNA at the contact details listed below.

Issued by:   MNA on behalf of Netcare N1 City Hospital
Contact:  Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville and Estene Lotriet-Vorster
Telephone:   (011) 469 3016
Email:    [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected] or [email protected]