Dean and Cynthia Chitray were found deceased in their home on Monday. Picture: Supplied.
Dean and Cynthia Chitray were found deceased in their home on Monday. Picture: Supplied.

Covid-19 almost wipes out whole family days before holidays

By Nathan Craig Time of article published Dec 20, 2020

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Durban - A Verulam family was almost wiped out by Covid-19 in a matter of weeks, leaving just their daughter fighting for her life.

President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation on Monday about beating the second wave but that morning, Cynthia Chitray, 71, and her son Dean Chitray, 42, were found dead in their Brindhaven home.

They were in quarantine after testing positive for Covid-19.

On Thursday, the daughter, who asked not to be named to avoid stigmatisation, was discharged from a Pietermaritzburg hospital where she had been on a ventilator and in intensive care due to the virus.

She is at home but continues to require a supplementary oxygen supply.

The first family member who contracted Covid-19 and passed away was Sam Chitray, 71, the father, who the family suspected contracted it from a hospital check-up for a kidney disorder about three weeks ago.

A family member told the Sunday Tribune that his uncle’s health began to deteriorate after his check up and was subsequently admitted to hospital.

“His daughter visited him before he was admitted to see how his check up went, and that is when we believe she contracted the virus. Her husband also tested positive. The health department visited the family to do contact tracing, testing and to place them into quarantine,” he said.

He said Sam died last week Friday and his funeral was conducted on Tuesday according to Covid -19 protocols.

Sam Chitray received a Covid-19 burial on Tuesday after passing away last Friday. Picture: Supplied.

"Dean and Cynthia were cremated on Wednesday after investigations into their deaths were conducted. We were told there was no foul play or signs of a burglary. I actually phoned Dean on Sunday evening to ask how he and his mum were doing, and he said they were doing fine, but his mum was asleep. It was discovered that she had died 12 hours before Dean, who was found on the couch in the living room," he said.

The daughter was the sole survivor.

The family member said when she learnt of her father's passing, it crushed her, and that was why they delayed breaking the news about her brother and mother.

"That stress and heartbreak worsened her condition and caused her to require ventilation. We kept the news from her about her mum and brother for as long as we could so she could be as strong as possible. That is also why we requested the statement of a Verulam security company to be taken off of Facebook," he said.

A concern the family had were the various conspiracy theories formulated by the community around the deaths.

"We want the record to be set straight. There were no murders or suicides. It was Covid-19. The family is suffering a great loss, and the daughter is still fighting to regain her strength. It has been a nightmare, but one we are trying our best to get through. Right now, she needs as much love and support as possible, so that is what we are giving her."

Sunday Tribune

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