Signage outside the Queen Victoria Hospital in Revelstoke. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)

Revelstoke woman with presumptive case of COVID-19 describes experience

‘For me, it was not life threatening’

A Revelstoke woman who was diagnosed with COVID-19 by phone said it’s an illness unlike any she’s experienced.

Soon after the COVID-19 testing site opened in Revelstoke last month, Cindy said she phoned the number provided and talked to a public health nurse.

Cindy is not her real name and she would only speak to Black Press anonymously.

The symptoms that made Cindy think she might have COVID-19 were a sore throat, fever, dry cough, shortness of breath, chest pains, weakness, head ache and extreme tiredness.

“It was like nothing I’ve felt before,” she said.

By phone, a nurse diagnosed her with COVID-19. However, the case would not be included in the provincial tally as it was not confirmed with a test.

Due to a lack of testing kits, not all cases are being analyzed in B.C.

If Cindy’s condition worsened, such as her fever increased or her cough intensified, the nurse told her to call again.

In the meantime, Cindy was told to self-isolate for 14 days.

READ MORE: Revelstoke opens new testing site for COVID-19

READ MORE: Revelstoke company sews neck guards for health care workers

It’s possible, said Cindy, that she got the illness from a friend, who was also later diagnosed with COVID-19 by phone. Or perhaps when she went to pick up her husband at the Kelowna airport after his return from Saskatchewan.

During her phone call with the public health nurse, Cindy said she was told there are multiple cases of COVID-19 in Revelstoke.

Unlike Alberta, Interior Health is not providing information pertaining to which communities have cases of COVID-19 and to what extent, citing privacy concerns.

By comparison, the public can go onto Alberta Health’s website and click on individual communities for how many confirmed cases that municipality has. For example, Jasper (half the size of Revelstoke) has had eight cases, four of which are still active, three have recovered and one person has died.

An Alberta Health spokesperson said the map is a way to balance patient confidentiality with transparency.

While Cindy and her husband (he later got a sore throat and headache) were self isolating, she said friends have dropped off food. However, in the first nine days, Cindy said she was too sick to care.

Cindy spent most of her time sleeping or staring out the window and thinking about sleep.

“I had zero energy to do anything.”

However, Cindy said she never felt concerned for her life and knew it was going to pass.

“It was only a matter of time.”

In an interview last month, local physician Dr. Bret Batchelor said the spread of COVID-19 cannot be stopped, only slowed.

Batchelor said the hope is to slow the virus to the point where if everyone gets COVID-19, those that need ventilators, do not need them all at once. Batchelor continued if coronovirus cases trickle in, the situation is manageable.

“The problem is if they don’t trickle in, if everyone gets it in a very short window and all those people that require that support come in together,” he said at the time.

READ MORE: ‘We can only slow it down’: Revelstoke doctor urges people to social distance

Cindy said it’s important people continue to self isolate and physical distance, to help flatten the curve.

“I think it’s something we have to stay on top of.”

Cindy said she wonders if she has antibodies after potentially having COVID-19. A question, scientists from across Canada are trying to determine.

Researches are studying passive immunizations, which consist of transfusing plasma from patients who have recovered from COVID-19 — called convalescent plasma — to patients in the early stages of the illness in order to provide protective antibodies and hopefully limit the severity of symptoms.

READ MORE: Researchers to study whether plasma of recovered patients can treat COVID-19

Plasma is the liquid portion of the blood that contains the antibodies that protect against illness.

Since there is no vaccine available, convalescent plasma may be the best alternative for protection against the virus.

Regardless, at the end of two weeks of self-quarantine, Cindy said she feels almost 100 per cent better.

“I’m pretty darn good.”


 

@pointypeak701
liam.harrap@revelstokereview.com

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