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Isolation Diaries: The criteria needed to get a COVID-19 test is silly - BlackBall Media

I woke up this morning feeling worse than I did yesterday. After 4 hours of being on hold with Telehealth I abandoned my spot in the queue. A few friends told me they were on hold for twice as long, as the ones who took the call back option did not hear from them for two days. My local health centre posted new calling hours for locals to get screened and possibly tested, so I called them this morning at 8am and left a message in their mailbox as instructed.

Then I waited. I heard nothing for 6 hours, so I called back and left another message. Then I waited for 4 more hours and called again.

The worrying is a little more pronounced today. Nothing my family and I can’t handle, but not knowing if I have COVID-19 while becoming increasingly worse is taking a toll.

It could be worse…a lot worse.

In Italy, 475 people died yesterday. The government says it is mostly due to people not taking the lockdown seriously. At the time of this writing, 8, 657 people have passed away from COVID-19.

I just received a call back from the health centre in Pembroke. After a series of questions it turns out I don’t qualify for a COVID-19 test. To qualify, you have to had either recently returned from a trip overseas, or you have to have come into contact with someone who is either infected, or suspects they are infected. I work as a librarian, so I come into contact with 100+ people every week in my rural community and have no idea if the people I come into contact with suspect they have the virus. The person on the phone, who incidentally was very nice and easy to talk to, recognized that it isn’t an ideal way to qualify people for testing, but there was nothing she could do.

I am not qualified to tell health experts how to do a gargantuan job like figuring out how to handle a health crisis, but I do wonder why places like South Korea seem to have a far better way of managing the pandemic. To me, testing as many people as possible and quarantining those who test positive seems logical if you want to minimize the spread. Gun to my head, I probably have bronchitis. I do not have shortness of breath and my fever is very slight. My cough is getting worse and my throat is quite sore, but I’m not bed ridden or anything.

Premier Doug Ford announces Ontario has declared a State of Emergency

I have mixed feeling over how our leaders have handled this crisis. Premier Doug Ford has surprised me to be honest. I have no affection for Ford whatsoever, but calling a state of emergency felt like the right thing to do. Prime Minister Trudeau has been sharp one day infuriatingly vague the next, incrementalizing his announcements and coming off indecisive. That changed today when he announced a gazillion dollar stimulus/relief package which everyone seems to agree is the right call under the circumstances.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks to Canadians about COVID-19

This situation is ever-changing, and I don’t believe we will find a societal routine for months. The Internet has become the COVID-19 Network, which is fitting because all of this is playing out like a Michael Bay film. In our attempt to ‘flatten the curve’ we seem to be hyper-aware of how unknown the future is, before retreating to Netflix or phone calls, our families, or our own ideas of what could come next.

Instead of getting tested I’m taking oil of oregano and drinking water. Instead of hugging my kids I am telling jokes or singing to them from across the room. I spend countless hours staring at my laptop, trying to anticipate the mystery of next week, or even the next day. There is so much information out there, bad and good, and deciphering it seems impossible.

Today I posted this famous quote from former television icon Fred Rogers.

I feel relieved when I stop thinking about where the world will be in one year. It’s better to focus on the silver linings instead. Remember, for every idiot trying to make money hoarding sanitizer, there is someone else volunteering at a food bank.

Let’s hold on to that for while.