The car Lawrence O'Connor raced in the Duel in the Desert, a race benefitting Amnesty International. (Submitted)

First publicly confirmed COVID-19 case in Port Hardy has been isolated since before symptoms occurred

“Hopefully this particular strain will die inside of me.”

Port Hardy has its first publicly confirmed case of COVID-19.

Lawrence O’Connor shared in a Facebook post that he tested positive for the disease while in quarantine after a trip to the U.S.

“There’s nothing pleasant about this painful illness; I feel like I’ve been eaten by wolves, and s**t off a cliff,” he wrote.

The good news, if there is any, is that O’Connor has self-isolated since arriving at the Vancouver Airport Nov. 16, so there’s been no one for the B.C. Health Authority to do contact tracing with.

“I was lucky enough that I didn’t stumble around in public, not knowing I was carrying it,” he told the Gazette over the phone.

O’Connor travelled to Las Vegas to participate in a charity stock car race for Amnesty International. Planning ahead for the required 14-day traveller quarantine, he’d enlisted friends to drop off food and supplies at his door.

After a few days of hanging around the house, he started to feel body aches. By Saturday (Nov. 21) it was full on sickness. He contacted B.C. Health and scheduled a drive-through COVID-19 test for Sunday.

We’ll call within 48 hours if it’s positive, they told him. Two days passed. I’m in the clear, he thought until at hour 48-and-a-half, he got the call.

O’Connor is determined to keep the virus contained to himself, and plans to stay home even though his quarantine is technically over this weekend.

“Hopefully this particular strain will die inside of me. That’s the only way this thing will be defeated, is contact tracing and isolation.”

He was surprised to learn from the B.C. Health officer who called with the positive test news that for someone at his level of viral load, he’s only contagious for two days before and 10 days after symptoms start to show. B.C. Health confirmed that this is generally the case, but recommendations are adjusted on a case-by-case basis.

O’Connor sat beside one person on the plane from Las Vegas to Vancouver, but felt he had to insist that the CDC take his flight and seat numbers. They said they’d post it on their website, but he didn’t get the impression they were going to contact other passengers. B.C. Health does not have purview over flight contact tracing, but confirmed that 48-hours before symptom onset is the standard for regular contact tracing.

As for the stock car race, it wasn’t his best, but he’s glad that the event raised a lot of money for Amnesty International.

Do you have something to add to this story or something else we should report on? Email: zoe.ducklow@blackpress.ca


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