This is Dylan. He is a resident in infectious disease, and is currently on the Infection Prevention and Control team.
“I started following the COVID-19 outbreak in January when I was asked to give a brief report on ‘this new pneumonia in Wuhan’…we didn’t have a name for it yet.
I remember thinking this is interesting, but also how far away it felt then. In the middle of January – as I left for a planned 9 week course on tropical medicine in Peru – it was on my mind but I didn’t realize the true impact it would soon have.
In Peru, I was in a bubble. I was quickly consumed by learning tropical diseases and the incredible, fascinating cases that we saw there. This bubble was rudely popped in the middle of March when the Peruvian president announced an emergency closure of the border, leaving us less than 24 hours to evacuate the country.
Chaos ensued with a rush to get out. I was fortunate to get a flight, but many of my colleagues were not able to. Some were stuck in the airport for up to a month.
I came back to a different world. A world of masks, of repeated screenings, of not being able to hug my parents when they picked me up at the airport.
After my 14-day quarantine, I had the opportunity to help with several long-term care (LTC) outbreaks across the city. It has been one of the most rewarding [moments] of my career so far. The need in the LTC homes was staggering. Many of the staff there had been working 100+ hour weeks, literally living in the home, working around the clock trying to stop the spread – all the while battling their own fears of getting sick or making their family sick. Multidisciplinary teams came together overnight to form cohesive units to work with and support the homes. It has been incredible to watch and, in a small way, participate in.
It has been a long several months filled with a lot of sadness at times, but I am not filled with despair. Instead I am continually inspired by the sacrifices of others, the connections that have developed that never existed before, and the desire I witness everyday from all of those around me to help.”