Second KZN pupil dies of Covid-19-related illness Katelyn Pillay
Second KZN pupil dies of Covid-19-related illness Katelyn Pillay

'Mommy, I can't breathe' – Phoenix mom shares daughter's last words before Covid-19 death

By Se-Anne Rall Time of article published Aug 17, 2021

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A PHOENIX mother has urged parents and teachers to be extra careful and rather keep sick children at home.

Karishma Pillay's daughter, Katelyn, died of Covid-19-related complications at the weekend.

Pillay believes her daughter could have contracted the virus at school.

Pillay said Katelyn began showing symptoms last week and tested positive for Covid-19 just days later.

On Friday, her daughter was struggling to breathe, she said.

In an interview with ECR, Pillay said Katelyn was rushed to the clinic and staff gave her oxygen and placed her on drips.

She said Katelyn reassured her that she was okay.

"We came home that morning and I gave her a bath and combed her hair. I put her to bed," Pillay said.

She said Katelyn woke up some time later and said she could not breathe.

"While I was holding her hand she passed away," Pillay said.

Katelyn attended the Wembley Primary School and was in Grade 7.

The Daily News reported that the Caneside school was closed for a deep clean. It is expected to re-open on Wednesday.

The Grade 7 girl's death comes just days after 9-year-old Shanika Balsaring succumbed to Covid-19. She was a Grade 4 pupil at the Acaciavale Primary School in Ladysmith. According to the Ladysmith Herald, Shanika and her whole family had been infected by Covid-19.

DA KZN spokesperson on Education, Dr Imran Keeka, said many parents have raised with the DA questions regarding school protocols once cases are identified and around sanitisation of schools once a positive person has been identified.

"To date, there have been 6 389 Covid-19 cases identified within KZN’s schools – a figure updated late last week and which is an accumulative figure since the beginning of the pandemic. This, while the past two years have also seen a significant loss of learning time," Keeka said.

The rapid spread of Covid-19 can only abate if everyone plays their part, he said.

“Worryingly, there has been a reduction in the uptake of the jab while some are behaving as if the virus does not exist, failing to adhere to non-pharmaceutical measures and even ignoring pleas to keep children with ’ordinary flu’ symptoms at home, Keeka said. | IOL

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