A health visitor from North Devon who contracted coronavirus has described her battle with the illness.

Jess Marchbank was admitted to North Devon District Hospital on Monday (March 23) where it was confirmed she had contracted Covid-19.

The 32-year-old mother of two, who describes herself as fit and healthy and with no underlying medical conditions, said she was feeling ‘thankful, amazed and overwhelmed’ she was able to leave hospital alive on Wednesday (March 25).

Speaking to the Gazette, Jess said the illness started as a ‘slight sore throat’ before developing ‘in an instant’.

“It just got worse overnight,” she said.

“Crying in agony as my joints felt like they were on fire, chest killing me, a high temperature of 38.5 and a dry cough but not persistent.

“I couldn’t get out of bed if I tried. I knew it was coronavirus because I had never felt anything like this pain before.”

Jess phoned 111 and was told it was highly suspected coronavirus. Then on Monday (March 23) when she was unable to catch her breath, feeling light-headed and dizzy, she called 999 and was taken to hospital.

In a frank and thankful post on Facebook on Wednesday which has already been shared by thousands, Jess urged those ignoring social distancing guidelines to take them seriously.

She said: “If you think this isolated ‘lockdown’ is bad and you’re ignoring the guidelines because ‘they’re stupid’, then let me tell you this; being fully isolated from the people you love and not knowing when (or if) you’ll hug them again is heck of a lot worse.

“Team that with the chronic piercing headache, limbs feeling on fire, painful chest, and the drowning tightness in your lungs... Now that’s bad. It was worse than bad.

Stop messing about. Start taking this seriously.

“If you can’t do it for yourself, do it for your granny and grandad, your immunocompromised friend, that little kid with cystic fibrosis, your mum with high blood pressure, your dad with diabetes.

“Do it for our NHS, stop the spread.”