Nova Scotia

Contracting COVID in the 3rd wave: How the virus has affected 2 Nova Scotia families

As the province remains firmly in the grip of the pandemic's third wave, two families recently diagnosed with COVID-19 are reminding their fellow Nova Scotians that just because the vaccine rollout has begun does not mean the coronavirus is letting up.

'You never know who it's going to hit and how,' says Halifax father

A laboratory technologist holds a genome cartridge while working to sequence the genome of the SARS-CoV-2 virus at the BCCDC in Vancouver, British Columbia on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

As the province remains firmly in the grip of the pandemic's third wave, two families recently diagnosed with COVID-19 are reminding their fellow Nova Scotians that just because the vaccine rollout has begun does not mean the coronavirus is letting up.

For Becky Stickings, a mother of two and vice-principal of Mount Edward Elementary School in Dartmouth, getting COVID-19 has been a rocky ride — even resulting in a recent trip to the emergency.

"I'm always a healthy person," said Stickings. "I'm not a person who gets sick very easily. So for me to be down and out, it's a very unusual thing."

About two weeks ago, unbeknownst to Stickings, she was in close contact with a colleague who had COVID-19. She was advised to go for asymptomatic testing.

Somewhere in the 72-hour wait between getting tested and receiving her positive result, Stickings began feeling unwell. 

'Fast and furious'

After noticing her health was a little off, a quick decline followed.

"It came on fast and furious," she said. "I started developing really, really bad headache, body aches, chills, fever, and you name it."

She had symptoms for around nine days, but just last Tuesday, things took a turn for the worse.

Stickings took a trip to the emergency due to COVID-induced pneumonia. ( Eric Woolliscroft)

"I spent the night up. I wasn't breathing very well, so I decided to call 811," said Stickings.

Stickings was advised to go to Dartmouth General Hospital where it was discovered via X-ray she was suffering from pneumonia symptoms due to COVID-19. Stickings was given fluids intravenously and a steroid treatment.

Isolating at home

Although she is now recovering, she admits the trip to hospital made her take COVID-19 more seriously.

"It kind of put a little damper on things and made me a little bit more leery and scared," she said.

She had to isolate in her master bedroom from her two children as well as her husband, who have so far all tested negative — "a miracle," said Stickings.

"It was definitely challenging. You can't share any of the same places in the house," she said. "I was able to sort of really stay on one side of the house when everyone else was on the other."

Family of 6 infected

In north-end Halifax, COVID-19 has spread throughout Terry Greencorn's household of six. 

He suspects the exposure came from his sons' school before it spread to him and his wife. His sister-in-law and her husband, who have both received their first vaccine dose, have also tested positive.

"They were told that the first dose was going to help a lot. They don't appear to be sick right now," said Greencorn.

Greencorn and his family of six recently contracted the virus, and he suspects it came from his sons' school. 'It came from the schools. They didn't want to shut down the schools. Now look at it,' he says. (Eric Woolliscroft)

Greencorn's wife has been experiencing symptoms for about 11 days — something that has him worried.

"[She has] achy bones, fever, her oxygen fluctuates up and down, we're trying to keep an eye on that," said Greencorn.

Worried about wife's oxygen levels

Greencorn has stepped into the role of the household caregiver. He's not experiencing symptoms so he's able to help out a bit more around the house.

"You do what you can do. You help everybody as much as possible when they need you," said Greencorn.

On Wednesday morning, Greencorn called 911 after he became concerned about his wife's oxygen levels. He was told to monitor her closely and call again if her symptoms worsen.

Nova Scotia reported 175 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday with the majority in the central health zone. There are 1,203 active cases of COVID-19 in the province.

Greencorn said he believes the provincial government could have done more and acted sooner to curb the spread of COVID-19 through border closures and vaccine distribution. 

Waiting for vaccines

In Dartmouth, Stickings said she hopeful case numbers will drop due to more people being vaccinated and commended the province for how they've managed the pandemic so far.

She is eligible to be vaccinated a month after her first negative test result. Greencorn has an appointment to be vaccinated later this month, however his wife does not.

He has a few words for Nova Scotians.

"You never know who it's going to hit and how," he said. "I know there's people that have it out there who don't know it. Go get tested."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Feleshia Chandler is a journalist based in Halifax. She loves helping people tell their stories and has interests in issues surrounding LGBTQ+ people as well as Black, Indigenous and people of colour. You can reach her at feleshia.chandler@cbc.ca

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