“This is the most random disease”
By Stewart Grant
Just as St. Marys residents were beginning to loosen up and sense a gradual return to normalcy, the Stonetown has been touched by two new positive cases of COVID-19.
On Monday, Huron Perth Public Health updated their statistics to record the first new positive test in St. Marys in several weeks.
The 31-year-old man, who works for an HVAC company, had completed work at a Stratford residence on Tuesday, May 19. Nine days later, on May 28, his company was alerted by health officials that a resident of that home had recently tested positive for COVID-19.
“At 3 p.m. (that Thursday) I was called by my work and told I was done for the day. I got tested Friday morning. When the results came back, I couldn’t believe it. We thought there was no way I was going to be positive,” he told the Independent.
Along with immediately self-isolating, the man communicated with health officials in developing a list of anyone who he had been in contact with from May 19-28. The week of May 25-29 in particular was unseasonably hot and therefore a busy week for air conditioner repairs.
“Thankfully I had all appointments written down on my time sheets and my office also had all the invoices, so we were able to trace it all back. Everyone from my work went to get tested along with seven or eight of my friends and some family members, as did a few others who had been in contact with people who I had contact with. It sounds like everyone who wanted a test, got one.
“Both my wife and my 8-month-old son tested negative so that was a huge relief. We’re doing everything we can to keep them that way. Now I’m in the spare bedroom; we have two bathrooms so we’ve split those up; just doing everything we can. I’m outside as much as I can to stay away from them but it’s not easy to stay apart. The health unit have been calling me every day; they’ve been really helpful and trying to keep everyone safe.”
The contact tracing resulted in a flurry of phone calls to potentially affected people. Earlier this week, results started to come back. As of press time, all tests had negative outcomes except for one additional positive which has not yet been posted to the HPPH website.
The newest positive case in St. Marys involves a 62-year-old man who had received air conditioning service on the evening of May 27th. He is also asymptomatic.
“We had no physical contact with him whatsoever,” his wife told the Independent Tuesday morning. “It was all six-foot social distance or more; the only thing we can think of is that maybe it was passed through touching the same surface at some point.”
“We’re five days into it and he’s had no symptoms whatsoever. We’re just going to keep our fingers crossed. It’s mind-boggling to us. He (the service technician) did nothing wrong; he came in and he did as we asked; we practiced social distancing. Everything was done properly. It’s unreal. We are a household that lives by Lysol and we fricking got it. This is the most random disease.”
Their 31-year-old friend expressed the same opinion. “The weirdest thing is how completely random it is…who is negative and who is positive. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to it. I was with him (the 62-year-old) for maybe thirty minutes but I’d been with my wife and son the whole time (9 days, before being tested) and way closer.”
Contact tracing for the newest case was much easier due to the different circumstances and a much shorter timeline. The man and his family went into immediate isolation as soon as they learned that the HVAC employee was being tested, which was less than 24 hours after his visit to repair their air conditioning unit.
“You just don’t realize how quickly your life can just shut down and stop”, said the 62-year-old man’s wife. “We were already self-isolating so that helped us immensely (with contact tracing). As soon as we heard, we stopped the spread immediately. And honestly, I think every single person should be tested because of the number of people that are out there walking around with this and have no idea because they are asymptomatic. No wonder this thing has gone global.”