What started with Laura’s son staying at their Grandmothers led to her family being forced to isolate for 24 days. After the visit, Laura’s mom became sick (fatigue) and went to get tested (strongly suggested by work) and found out she had a positive PCR test. This led Laura to get her son tested: “I want to get him tested because he’s definitely not going to be positive and then I can get out of this… So I go take him to get a test and he is positive. After this ensues a whole bunch with public health.”
In the Niagara region, where Laura lives the rules for isolating COVID-19 cases don’t make any sense at all. In Laura’s case, her son stays in his room self-isolated most of the time as he is a teenager – but this isn’t the case for all children. There is no age cut-off suggested for these measures in the Niagara Region’s Public Health rules. Here’s how it works:
According to Niagara regions website, “If your child is not assessed by a health care provider, and testing for COVID-19 was declined for any reason we must assume the child has COVID-19.“
“The child is to self-isolate for 10 days (away from household members, when possible) AND all household contacts are to stay home and self-isolate for 14 days from the last exposure to the symptomatic child. If household members become symptomatic, they should consult their health care provider and/or go for testing.”
Many were angered to hear about the policy of isolating children who weren’t ill away from their family members and some prominent voices have begun to speak out on the policy. The Mayor of Brampton, Patrick Brown has spoken out against the measures calling them a “mistake” – yes the same Patrick who was caught playing shimmy when that wasn’t allowed for children.
Here’s what he had to say on the matter on social media:
“Public Health must ensure the best interests of children and families are at the centre of recommendations,” Mayor Brown posted to social media. “They must be based on science with evidence for all to see. I am relieved to hear from Dr. (Lawrence) Loh that this mistake is being fixed and this flyer is being removed from circulation.”
In an email response to the Toronto Sun, Ministry of Health spokesperson Anna Miller had this to say concerning the child isolation question:
“The need for an individual to self-isolate if they have COVID-19 symptoms or may have been exposed to COVID-19 is not new.”
“Recognizing it may be difficult for children to self-isolate from the rest of their household, parents and caregivers should take appropriate precautions when caring for children who either have COVID-19 or have been identified as a close contact of a confirmed case and should seek additional guidance from their local public health unit.”
In my opinion, it doesn’t seem like they cleared things up. It doesn’t specifically say not to isolate children but to “take appropriate precautions when caring for children with either have COVID-19 or have been identified as a close contact of a confirmed case” – this is a problem. Just say that isolating children away from family is wrong – especially young children.
Don’t forget we’re not talking about just those that develop symptoms of illness here – we’re talking about those with absolutely no symptoms! If you were just around someone who tested positive or if you refused a test you’re still supposed to isolate your child.
Laura’s story – 24 days in isolation
In Laura’s case, her son has never had symptoms worse than a cold. However, under the Niagara Public Health Region guidelines, she has to isolate for 14 days from the last exposure of her son – the symptomatic child.
Laura and her daughter both went to get tested at the behest of Public Health and both were negative. After a negative test, Laura again spoke with Public Health who said that they would only have to isolate until February 27th so long as her son stayed in self-isolation. This all changed however the following day when Public Health called again:
“They call me back the next day and they say oh, his test came back as the variant as the UK variant so now you and your daughter are quarantined until March 5th whether he’s isolated or not… Every subsequent call after that they would just call me back, ask me what his symptoms were, which was sore throat at the absolute most – but I’m going to say less than a cold. “
“So every day they call me back they want me and my daughter to go back and get tested and I keep trying to explain to them I can’t do that because I’m not adding more time on to somebody who’s testing negative. I asked them for an anti-body test which I know they can be mailed out and it’s a saliva test so it’s easy and you get results in half an hour. They tell me no they can’t do that for me – so I’m like while I’m not gonna keep going and getting tested unless me or my daughter are sick if you’re not going to send me a test that could tell me why I’m potentially testing negative… I’m not gonna let my life be on hold into April for a sore throat.”
Public Health said if they didn’t go back for a test – 24 days may not be long enough
“Well if you and your daughter aren’t going to go back for another test we’re going to have consult our doctors 24 days may not be enough time. I said to them if it’s anything past March 5th I’ll have a lawyer involved your calls are agitating me, they’re stressing me out – so unless you have actual information to tell me I need you to stop calling me.”
Laura went on to say that after March 5th she doesn’t care what Public Health says to her – after that she’s going to walk out her front door and begin living life again. This is because she has proof that she’s tested negative and she does personal training and can also verify that she has continued to be active during her forced isolation.
Laura told Diverge Media that Public Health told her the variant is “they said it’s 70-80% more contagious and just so much more deadly than regular COVID – this is what they’re saying to me.” So how is it that no one else in Laura’s home-developed symptoms?
They stressed me out
In our phone call discussing the event with Laura, she told us that the phone calls with Public Health were stressing her out quite considerably and that they were causing her anxiety.
Here’s what she told Diverge Media:
“They were calling me on a daily basis until I said you guys are stressing me the f**k out you need to stop. Because honestly, I would get off the phone with them and I would have anxiety from them trying to pressure me into a test and then telling me well if you don’t do what we say we’re going to enforce more time on you – and I felt like I was already being agreeable with the 24 days.”
Her Dad Tested Positive – He has taken up running
Laura also told us her dad tested positive and that he had absolutely no symptoms. Her dad has taken up running to kill his boredom during his forced isolation:
“My dad, he tested positive – no symptoms. He was under the assumption that he would have to get tested for work – so he went and got a test came back positive, absolutely no symptoms. He’s decided to take up running on the treadmill because he’s bored.”
It’s worth noting that Laura’s son also tested positive for the UK variant that the government keeps fear-mongering with to scare the populace – and no one in the household developed any symptoms nor did they test positive.
Laura’s 24 days in isolation ends this Friday and she’s looking forward to it being over with. Laura has been painting portions of her home to keep herself busy in the Government’s forced isolation. She said she even wants to go dancing to celebrate – something she claims to have only said twice in her entire life. Needless to say – this has been the reality of the Government policies to combat COVID in school in her region of Niagara.
Is this something we’re ok with? Is it acceptable to punish an entire household by isolating them for someone who displays little symptoms that some would characterize as “less than a cold”? Let us know what you think by commenting!
Subscribe so you don’t miss another Diverge Media Article!
Diverge Media is an independent Canadian media company dedicated to bringing you the stories that matter. We do not, and will not accept government funds for our work. Therefore, we rely entirely on the generous donations of our readers/viewers to help us be able to continue our work. To support more stories likes this you can purchase a Diverge Media hat or donate in the form below! All the best, the Diverge Media team.