Northern B.C. COVID-19 survivor advises others to be cautious as cases climb in region
Tracy Paquette ended up in a coma for 17 days after contracting COVID-19
A 48-year-old northern B.C. woman who is still recovering from COVID-19 after contracting the virus in March and enduring a 17-day coma is warning others in her region about the seriousness of the virus.
Eleven new cases of COVID-19 have been reported so far this week in B.C.'s Northern Health region, none of which have been associated with an outbreak in Haida Gwaii.
Since the beginning of the pandemic in mid-March, 104 cases have been reported in the region in total.
On Wednesday, 85 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in all of B.C., making it the third-highest single-day jump in cases since the beginning of the pandemic. For that reason, Tracy Paquette is advising British Columbians to remain cautious.
Her symptoms began in March with a fever and extreme exhaustion. She went to the doctor but was sent home with a suspected case of kidney stones. She returned two days later when her symptoms persisted.
"I thought I had the flu," she said.
She went to the hospital in Fort St. John, where she was diagnosed with COVID-19.
"I was thinking I'm gonna die and not going to see my family. I was so scared. I was in shock."
She was admitted to the ICU but at the hospital in Prince George.
She woke up 17 days later, on her birthday.
Paquette had been in a coma and was told she had been revived by doctors twice during those 17 days.
She stayed in the hospital in Prince George for a month. While there, she had to relearn how to walk, because the virus made her so weak.
Although she's clear of the virus now, almost four and a half months since her initial diagnosis, she's still recovering. She said her memory is in bad shape, she's still physically weak and often tired, and the virus has taken a toll on her emotionally.
She's sharing her story to remind people that even though parts of society have opened up, British Columbians need to remain diligent, follow the advice of the provincial health officer and keep each other safe.
"I don't want anyone to get sick because you may not come back from it," Paquette said. "That's a tough fight. I was struggling over there. I was fighting for my life."
With files from Daybreak North