Ann* is a retired health care professional who has gone back to work at the hospital in the medical imaging department. While working, she suddenly felt ill and tested positive for COVID-19. When this interview was conducted, she was on day 18 of quarantine.
“I was at work when I suddenly felt sick with a massive head cold.
I went to the Emergency Department and got my temperature taken. It was perfectly normal. An ED staff member came over. She gave me extra gowns and told me to treat everyone I work with as if they are positive.
By the end of my shift, I was feeling no better and I informed my manager I would be calling in sick and went and got tested [for COVID-19]. I went home and slept for 16 hrs.
I had a mental breakdown for the first two or three days after I tested positive.
I had to inform Occupational Health and my manager who I was in touch with. Thank God nobody I came into contact with has turned out to have symptoms.
I got retested on day 15 and on day 16. I tested positive both times. They wanted me to return to work because I am officially past the 14 days of quarantine and I am not contagious. But new guidelines say I can return only after two negative tests and I cannot return while positive. No one can tell me how long I will be positive for or why I am still positive.
Right now, I am refusing to go back until I get a negative test.
If I need to take a leave of absence, that is fine, but I will not endanger the staff or the patients until I know I am negative.
I feel that no one has an answer as to how long I stay out for. It took Public Health 11 days to confirm I was positive. What if I was working then?”
*name changed to protect privacy
This interview was conducted on April 16th, 2020.