Nova Scotia

'Protect each other,' says 29-year-old in isolation at Halifax long-term care home

Twenty-nine-year-old Vicky Levack can’t leave the Halifax long-term care facility where she lives, or receive visitors. She’s passing the time by reading lots of books and asking her friends to post pictures on social media.

All 97 long-term care facilities in Nova Scotia closed to visitors

Vicky Levack, 29, lives at Arborstone Enhanced Care in Halifax. Because she's not allowed visitors, she's asking people on social media to keep her company by sharing photos of their dogs. (Diane Paquette/CBC)

A Halifax woman who lives in a long-term care facility is trying to ward off boredom with books, but says being cut off from her family, friends and job is taking its toll.

Twenty-nine-year-old Vicky Levack has cerebral palsy and lives at Arborstone Enhanced Care. She isn't allowed to have visitors due to the risk of COVID-19.

"I miss being able to go see my friends. I miss working. I miss feeling safe," she told CBC's Mainstreet on Wednesday. "I miss the certainty of knowing that, like, everything's going to be OK because at this point, we don't know if everything's going to be OK."

Public health ordered the province's 97 long-term care facilities to shut their doors to visitors on March 15 to prevent the spread of the virus to some of Nova Scotia's most vulnerable citizens.

The province now has three confirmed and nine presumptive cases of COVID-19.

Levack is one of the people for whom COVID-19 is especially dangerous. The virus can be deadly for the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.

She said learning about the deaths of several people at a long-term care facility in Washington state has been frightening.

"This is a life and death situation, and I think people need to realize that," she said.

Do you have a dog photo to share?

Levack said some of her elderly neighbours don't fully understand why they're being cut off from their loved ones, and she expects people will have more questions as the days drag by.

"Some residents have spouses who come every day, and they're not coming and they're like, 'Why? Where's my husband? Where's my wife?'" she said.

Levack said she understands why long-term care facilities are closed to visitors.

For most Nova Scotians, social distancing is a small price to pay to keep people safe, she said.

"You may not die because you're not in the demographic of those most likely to pass away, but people you love are," she said. "And even if they aren't, humans are humans. I think we as people have a responsibility to protect each other."

Levack, who works as a program co-ordinator with the Halifax Regional Municipality, has spent most of the last few days reading.

She's stocked up on audiobooks and said an order of e-books is on its way from the library, even though branches have now closed.

While she's not able to visit her family or friends, Levack is asking people on social media to keep her company by sharing photos of their dogs.

With files from CBC's Mainstreet

now