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Nunavut woman makes COVID-19 diagnosis public to help protect others

A woman who moved to Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, last month and tested positive for COVID-19 said she made her diagnosis public on social media to help protect others.

'I did get really sick. The first few days were the hardest,' said Donna Lyall

Donna Lyall said she tested positive for COVID-19 in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, on Dec. 29, 2021. She said she decided to go public with her diagnosis to help others. (Submitted by Donna Lyall)

A woman who moved to Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, last month and tested positive for COVID-19 said she made her diagnosis public on social media to help protect others.

"I didn't want anyone knowing that I had COVID[-19] but, same time, I wanted everyone to know," said Donna Lyall, who has had two COVID-19 vaccines.

She said she arrived in the community by plane on Dec. 28, following two overnight stops on her way from St. John's, N.L.

"I was worried about all the other people that were on that flight, and I wanted them to watch out for the symptoms because COVID can be scary," she said.

The Nunavut government issued a COVID-19 exposure notice for the flight.

One overnight stop was in Yellowknife, where Lyall received a free kit of take-home COVID-19 rapid tests.

She said her throat was slightly itchy in Yellowknife at the time, but she thought that was due to the difference "between St. John's warm, moist air to somewhere where it's cold and dry."

She said she arrived in Yellowknife on Canadian North flight 244 from Edmonton on Dec. 27, for which the N.W.T. government issued a public exposure notification for passengers in rows six to 12.

Three tests

Once in Cambridge Bay, a family member showed Lyall a news article about an exposure on a plane she travelled on earlier. She started feeling tired, among other symptoms of the illness.

Lyall said she tested twice using the take-home tests. One test was negative and the other was positive.

She then got tested at the community's health centre, where she tested positive again.

"I am now, of course, quarantining in my own room all by myself," Lyall said. "I did get really sick. The first few days were the hardest."

After posting on Facebook about getting the illness, she heard from "a lot of positive people who sent their prayers and who were all rooting for me to get better and saying it's going to be OK, I'll get over it, and saying thank you for sharing my post and being very out there."

There were some "negative people," too, she added.

She said she's feeling much better now physically and mentally because she's focused on a different kind of positive in her life: she's a couple of months or so pregnant.

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