'My stupidity could have made a lot of people sick’

·4 min read

Steve Fortin and his family survived a harrowing COVID-19 infection and he wants to share it with everyone “because it may save a life.”

Fortin, a trucker and musician, said he and his wife started to notice mild symptoms Dec. 22, three days after exposure.

“Sniffles, slight cough, and a dry, sore nose,” he wrote, but they weren’t sure if it was sinus problems or a cold.

“Here is our mistake, we should have immediately been tested,” Fortin said, adding they were being careful in case they were infected that they wouldn’t spread it.

“We are new to the area so we didn't really go anywhere to spread it but I did go to work and went to the store but wore a mask and sanitized regularly and kept a safe distance at all times,” he said.

By New Year’s Eve, he and his wife “became terribly ill” with the full laundry list of symptoms.

“We couldn’t get off the couch the pain was so bad, fevers and chills almost unbearable,” he wrote, with “stomach ache and diarrhea with no appetite at all.

“My wife was vomiting and I was lucky enough not to vomit,” Fortin wrote. “Then we got the call, a friend of ours who works in the medical field tested posted for COVID-19.

“Immediately we called the North Bay COVID centre for testing and our results came back positive as well.

“My wife, kids, and myself all had COVID-19,” he said, explaining the children had no symptoms. “They didn’t even know they had it but my wife and I were very ill.

“Public Health and I back-tracked all our steps to make sure we didn’t come into contact with anyone. They called my work and had employees that were around me tested and thank God they were all negative,” Fortin said.

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“My stupidity could have made a lot of people sick. I became so ill I should have been hospitalized but was afraid that I may never see my kids again,” he said.

A Public Health nurse called to check and suggested they be hospitalized for treatment and to be more comfortable, he added.

“I had every symptom possible and by the second week it started to affect my lungs, nose, and bronchial tube,” Fortin said. “It burned to breathe. One night, I woke up and asked my wife to talk to me because I was sure it may be our last conversation.”

Things started to improve after being sick for three weeks and the Fortin family cases were considered resolved Sunday.

“I feel much better but still a little weak,” he said, adding praise for the support they received.

“As sick as we were, our neighbors were amazing with support and help. My closest neighbor Marcel did our grocery shopping and his wife made our family an amazing meat pie,” he said.

“Neighbors were calling to check on us and to offer their help and I must say thank you so much to them” for being there in their time of need.

“Sturgeon Falls is the most amazing community we have ever lived in and thank you for accepting us and making us feel so welcomed,” he wrote.

He suggests people be diligent and follow Public Health advice:

“If you show any cold or flu symptoms don't assume it is. Go get tested, it’s easy, painless, and fast.

“Always keep your mask on and practice safe distancing in public. It’s so easy to spread this virus. When you go through a drive-thru or use a debit machine, sanitize immediately before they hand your stuff to you.

“When grocery shopping, ask if your cart was sprayed before you use it and if not clean it yourself or request it to be and the most important thing when you’re around friends or family you don't live with, WEAR YOUR MASK.

“I made one mistake and almost lost my life so I feel very lucky to be here and just want to help this amazing community in any way I can. Thank you,” he wrote.

Dave Dale is a Local Journalism Reporter with BayToday.ca. LJI is funded by the Government of Canada.

Dave Dale, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca