Close COVID-19 call in CK

The coronavirus is named after its shape which resembles the corona of a star. (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

A well-known tennis coach from Chatham is breathing a sigh of relief after testing negative for COVID-19.

Liz Stewart, 59, tells Blackburn News she was sitting beside a Toronto man who tested positive for the virus when she was returning from Las Vegas two weeks ago. Stewart said she recognized the man on the news a week later, immediately called 911 and went to the emergency department in Chatham for treatment. Stewart said Chatham-Kent Health Alliance and Chatham-Kent Public Health did their jobs properly, but she added there was no screening at the airports in Vegas or Toronto.

“It’s like closing the barn door after all the horses have run out. We’re already on the plane and in my opinion, the man could have been removed from the plane that was coughing that tested positive,” said Stewart.

Stewart said it could have been a catastrophe if she had the coronavirus because she was in contact with dozens of people for about a week when she came back home.

“Everybody at a farm that I visit, my family. My mother at 94, my two brothers, one of their wives. I went to Walmart in town, I’d been to Shoppers, the drive-thru at Tim Hortons,” she added.

Stewart said at one point she had a 100-degree fever and shortness of breath, but no coughing and didn’t feel good when she went to the emergency department.

“They did the chest tapping, then they did a swab and the swab is about a six-inch Q-tip and they put it in your nose and they touch the back of your throat and then they twirl it,” said Stewart.

Stewart said she was greeted at the emergency department in Chatham by a nurse and a doctor wearing a mask, shield, and gown and added the local public health unit dropped off masks, sanitizer and a quarantine pamphlet at her home while she was under quarantine waiting for the test results.

In the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic declared by the World Health Organization, CK Public Health said it has already been taking the necessary, proactive steps, working alongside community partners to ensure effective monitoring, management and response to the situation.

To date, there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Chatham-Kent and public health officials said the risk for CK residents remains low.

They added It is important that individuals call ahead prior to visiting any health care provider with details regarding their travel history and symptoms so that special arrangements can be made to ensure they are seen quickly, provided testing and that proper infection control measures are used.

CK Public Health said for those planning events and gatherings, the Public Health Agency of Canada has developed a risk-assessment tool to assist in their decision-making process when it comes to postponing or cancelling a mass gathering.

“The situation changes daily,” Dr. Colby, Chatham-Kent’s Medical Officer of Health said. “But taking precautionary measures has the potential to greatly slow the spread and assist with not overwhelming our acute care resources.”