One person’s story of being in isolation due to Covid

Recently, I was chatting to a long-time friend of mine about Covid-19. They live in a local care facility. Out of respect for their privacy and any possible ramifications, I won’t mention their name or where they live.

But I did want to share their story partly because it’s rarely mentioned in the media anymore, and frankly, it should be.

As I mentioned, my friend lives in a care facility. Covid-19 has affected many people in the building. As of this writing, there have been 23 cases of Covid. Of those 23 cases, nine staff, 14 residents and 3 died due to Covid; There was an outbreak. Also, as I type this, nobody on their floor can leave their room due to another possible case.

Fortunately, my friend isn’t near them and hasn’t been in contact with them. However, the whole ward is in isolation, at least for another few days. The last time they were all in isolation, it lasted for 33 days back in October.

Thirty-three days without leaving your room. Can you imagine that? Thirty-three days without seeing your friends, even your friends that live down the hall, or you eat with them. Thirty-three days of also not seeing your family, or even being able to get outside for fresh air.

I did ask my friend if family members are allowed to visit the more seriously ill people. There is a two-hour course where family members & loved ones can learn how to put on and take off PPE. I have a sneaky suspicion that not many know about it or simply choose not to take the course.

I hate saying that. As a person who spent nineteen years in a hospital and knowing others in various group homes or hospitals, I’ve witnessed many instances of families choosing not to visit. It’s really sad and hard to see.

As many of you may know, I’m also a huge supporter of Mental Health and Mental Health Awareness; I took the time to ask how my friend’s Mental Health is. Their response was they have their moments, but they’re hanging in there. My friend also mentioned that they had a breakdown earlier that day, which is certainly very understandable.

I also took the time to ask whether or not the staff were being careful. Their response was, “Most of them.” I won’t go into details about the story they shared, but it was quite alarming to me, but not overly surprising.

There are a few reasons why I wanted to share their story. I won’t share them all, though. One reason being is I find that fewer people are talking about Covid in care homes and the impact that it’s still having on the people who live and work there. Nowadays, when I put on the news or read it, it’s all about the vaccine and how many have received it and who’s next in line to get it.

We ALL NEED to remember that Covid is still very much here in Ottawa and will be for a very long time, especially if the variant continues to spread. While yes, there are vaccines, and some people are getting them, it’s only a tiny number of people right now.

Covid is still affecting care facilities in a big big way. Just because the mainstream media has mostly stopped talking about it, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t, or at least think about those that are affected.

We shouldn’t have to make people with disabilities or with other health issues feel more isolated than they already do.

As the weather slowly warms up, I understand the need to get outside for fresh air and see your friends etc. People with disabilities would also love to do that, but many can’t right now and probably not for a while either.

So, I beg of you, and I’m sure that I’m also speaking for others as well.

PLEASE keep wearing a mask; continue to practice physical distancing and washing your hands. Even after the pandemic’s over, we should always wash our hands. No matter what.

I continue to hear stories about people having parties and being close together without wearing masks. That NEEDS to STOP.

As we’ve all seen, the numbers are slowly rising again, and Ottawa is inching closer to the red zone.

Do we want to be locked down again? I don’t.

I’m also pretty sure that my friend would love to visit their friends in the place they reside in. Some of whom may not pull through due to other health conditions.

We need to change our focus on ourselves and instead focus on others.