TIMMINS — The idea of contracting COVID-19 wasn’t initially surprising to Jasen Larocque when he and his family of five got tested for the virus.
But when the results came back positive on March 27 for four of them, including himself, that’s when it reality hit.
“We kind of broke down a bit in tears,” Larocque said in a video call interview. “Now we just have to take day-by-day precautions to try to prevent the spread.”
You have to be vigilant
Luckily, Larocque said the family hasn’t experienced any severe respiratory symptoms but has been experiencing sniffles and headaches .
He said his four-year-old son’s test was inconclusive, but that the boy has also been experiencing mild symptoms and is being treated as though he’s positive. The boy has described how he feels as having a “bubbly throat.”
The whole family is all in self-quarantine and practicing public health guidelines, Larocque said, and they will have to stay that way until none of them shows any symptoms for 14 days.
That could mean up to another month spent inside, but Larocque said it’s ultimately about keeping the rest of the community healthy.
“What people have to learn is you have to be vigilant,”Larocque said. “If you really don’t have to go out, don’t. Just stay home. If that’s the only thing that we have to do to limit the spread, I think people can do that.”
Larocque shared his family’s situation online and received an outpouring of support from the community.
While he appreciates it, he said the important thing right now is for people to take the directions from public health officials seriously. That means only going outside for essential errands, like groceries or medication if you can’t get them delivered, he said.
In his experience, however, some have been willing to help those in isolation with getting access to supplies, and so Larocque thinks people should consider asking for that help if they need it.
“If you know somebody that is going out, they’re reaching out to you or you’re reaching out to them, like we have been doing, just ask them,” he said. “They’ll be more than happy to help you out, in this case.”
I was suffering
Larocque believes he may have contracted the virus from his work at a motorsports dealership.
In Facebook posts, the business claimed to have served a customer that later tested positive and proceeded to sanitize the building, close operations and have staff go into self-isolation.
Tammy Chin, who also works at that shop, contracted the virus too — although the health unit could not determine the origin of her exposure since she had recently returned from a trip abroad at the time.
Before getting tested, Chin told CTV News that she tried fighting through her symptoms.
She said things worsened to the point where she needed to go to the hospital.
“I was achy and feverish and cold and then hot,” said Chin, recounting her initial battle with the virus. “I was falling asleep … by myself, with fever, passed out in the bathtub.”
Now, cleared to come out of isolation, Chin said she has lung damage and a long recovery ahead.
Chin wishes she had reached out for medical help sooner, saying that’s something she wants people to take away from her experience.
“I want people to not be afraid … if they have some of the symptoms, to call the Porcupine Health Unit,” Chin said. “Had I … brought myself (to the doctor) earlier, maybe I wouldn’t have suffered so much. Because I was suffering.”
Steps for COVID-19 safety
At this point, Larocque said his family is in frequent communication with the local health unit, which monitors their health and gives advice as they progress through their quarantine.
Health units advise people that have recently travelled or come into contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 and are experiencing symptoms to first call them to be assessed over the phone.
Otherwise, health officials advise those with symptoms to self-isolate, follow public health hygiene and physical distancing guidelines and contact a healthcare provider if symptoms worsen.
People can also access an online COVID-19 assessment tool to determine if they may need to be tested for the virus.
Clarification on symptoms, the Larocque family did not experience fevers or light coughs.
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