On the morning of March 19, Rosa desperately dialed the provincial health information line for British Columbia, hoping to speak to a nurse about her 67-year-old father’s rapidly deteriorating condition.
The 24-year-old student had been calling 811 for a few days, but this time the call was finally successful. Still, she said she was on hold for a few hours before she could speak to someone.
At that time, the voice on the other line told him to take his father straight to the emergency room. Two days after his admission, the hospital called to say that he had tested positive for COVID-19.
Rosa’s father is one of 26 people living with the disease currently in intensive care units in British Columbia. hospitals. (CBC has agreed not to use Rosa’s last name or to identify her father because he cannot consent to be identified.)
He is currently in intensive care at Vancouver General Hospital, where he is sedated and connected to a breathing tube.
“We can’t talk to him or see him,” said Rosa. “We just have to believe he’s in good hands in the hospital.”
Rosa and her mother can only wait for the doctors’ updates. While they are sitting at home in isolation, they are worried about his condition – and watch their own health.
Rosa’s father is one of at least 32 cases that public health officials say were linked to a dental conference in Vancouver between March 5 and March 7, which attracted 15,000 people. North Vancouver dentist who attended the rally died on Sunday.
Rosa’s father has worked at the Vancouver Convention Center for many years. She said that he usually helps with banquets there.
She told CBC News that her father’s symptoms started on March 10.
“At first it was just a cold, a cough, a sore throat and being very tired and in bed all day,” she said.
Then came the fever. A week later, nausea.
It was then that the family noticed that his hands were turning gray and his veins were more visible blue.
By the time Rosa reached 811, he was having difficulty breathing and was experiencing chest pain.
After arriving at the hospital, Rosa looked across the room while they checked her oxygen levels before he was taken away.
Hospital workers immediately told Rosa and her mother to go home. His father was transferred to intensive care and they have not been able to contact him since, including by text message on his phone.
They now call the intensive care unit daily for information about it.
Family in quarantine
Meanwhile, Rosa and her mother remain isolated in their home in the Vancouver area. She contacted CBC through a series of text messages because she said that her throat was too sore to speak.
Rosa and her mother both have symptoms of COVID-19, including coughing, loss of appetite and fatigue.
“I have lost my sense of smell and taste for over a week now,” she said.
They were not tested because the medical staff informed them that they did not need to be tested and simply had to isolate themselves.
The province considers cases as their own “epidemiologically linked” because public health officials know the source of the infection.
As there is no official confirmation through testing, these types of cases are not part of the confirmed totals released daily.
However, officials say the figures will also soon be published online, which will give a better indication of the number of people infected with the virus in Canada.
Questions about the dental conference
As Rosa waits for news from the hospital, she continues to wonder why the Pacific Dental Conference was held, given that the event attracted thousands of attendees, including some from the United States.
Before it takes place, the conference organizers updated their website to say that they were intensifying cleaning at the convention center and would bring in additional housekeeping staff and hand sanitizers.
At the time, public health officials said the risk of COVID-19 in British Columbia. was weak.
We recently learned that a person who tested positive for COVID-19 was present in the showroom of PDC 2020 on March 6 between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. They visited specific suppliers who were informed.
Communicated here: https://t.co/2CCxvIQZ99
A few days later, after several people present at the event were positive, the organizers released another online statement, stating that the conference “deeply regrets” that some have contracted the virus. They added that they had done due diligence and that public health officials never asked them to cancel it.
Rosa described her father as very hardworking and knew he was very sick when he called sick to work. She urges people to take the threat of COVID-19 seriously to prevent it from spreading to people who cannot fight the infection.
“I know there are still people out there who think this is just the flu,” said Rosa. “Even if you don’t feel sick, I think people should act like they are, to reduce the risk of it spreading.”