Muskoka resident shares her story about her sick husband and lack of COVID-19 testing at hospitals

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Ashley Moore

I’ve been trying to keep this to myself and really only commenting vaguely when I felt I could offer some insight. However, as things evolve and more information starts to be shared about this virus, I feel it necessary to share my family’s personal experience.

My family and I travelled to Orlando Florida on Feb 27th, at which time we had been monitoring the status of this virus and China was still the epicentre of the outbreak. There were only 3 confirmed cases in Canada and 12 in the United States. There were no travel advisories or closures of any sort at this time either.

Although we felt safe, we still made sure to be extra prepared with hand sanitizer, anti-bacterial wipes and diligently washing our hands.

Upon arrival back to Canada, it was within 2 days that Florida and the state of New York (we flew in and out of Buffalo) declared a state of emergency. About 4 days after that my husband became very ill. He exhibited ALL the symptoms of Covid-19 (fever, consistent dry cough, extreme fatigue and a “heaviness” in his chest). He did not want to go to the hospital but upon the very strong recommendation of his family doctor, he reluctantly went to emerge here in Muskoka. My husband suffers from two rare conditions and is hospitalized a couple times per year on average when he experiences a flare up. It was because of this AND a 14lb weightloss in 7 days, that our doctor urged him to go get checked out.

He was triaged at 3:30pm on a Wednesday (4 days now with worsening symptoms) and was isolated and made to wear a mask and gloves (treating him as if he could possibly have this virus).

After 10 hours in the ER, the doctor discharged him saying, in her exact words “your swab for influenza came back negative” she went on “you definitely have a viral infection of some sort but at this time we are not testing anyone for Coronavirus who has travelled from Florida”. She sent us on our way (I’m also wearing a mask and gloves) with NO recommendation for isolation of any kind, simply to return to work when you feel like you can. She did, however tell him to come back if his symptoms don’t change or get worse within a few days.

We decided on our own accord that he would self isolate in another room away from us and that my son and I would follow the recommendations for the standard 14 day quarantine as well, just to be safe.

We had been calling Telehealth, as advised, since leaving the hospital with a 24 hr wait time for a call back, they have called us back after much longer than 2:15 in the morning, while we’re sleeping. We have yet to be able to get through to them again. After learning that testing centres would be established a few days later, my husband returned to the hospital (where the new testing centre had been set up) since some of his symptoms had not improved and others had worsened in hope that perhaps now, they were better equipped to do testing.

AGAIN he was NOT tested, exhibiting symptoms, having travelled outside the country and being among the more vulnerable group with an underlying health condition.

I am beyond furious and extremely anxious now, after learning that this is against the recommendation from the WHO, who have stated “the only way to contain this virus is to isolate and TEST, test everyone with symptoms”. They have also urged all governments to act in this manner, but our government seems to be unprepared to do so.

What’s more unsettling is that I am 15 weeks pregnant and UK officials have just stated that pregnant women are among the most vulnerable and could be asked to self isolate for up to 12 weeks! The reality is, we have NO idea how this can affect an unborn baby. It’s too early, there are not enough cases and not enough research.

I recognize that this is likely out of the control of our doctors and health care workers, this is a government issue so Im not blaming anyone, but shedding light on our reality.

Something more needs to be done and we all need to know there are likely many more cases in our community than we think but we won’t know for sure because the testing simply isn’t being done. For this reason, everyone needs to take social distancing seriously. Some people are not understanding the severity of the situation because they don’t think it’s a problem, especially in our community. It’s not their fault! It’s because it’s being reported that we supposedly have no cases. This is why people need to be tested. Keep people healthy and safe.

A Huntsville resident had a similar experience she shared on her Facebook over the weekend of March 14 and 15.

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