‘It’s nothing like a flu:’ Courtenay woman who had presumptive COVID-19 case warns people to take virus seriously

'It's nothing like a flu:' Courtenay woman who had presumptive COVID-19 case warns people to take virus seriously
WatchA Courtenay woman who survived a presumptive case of COVID-19 is urging people to take the threat seriously as she continues to recover, months after getting sick. The 72-year-old said she thought she was going to die. Skye Ryan reports.

Linda Jarvis is breathless just crossing her house now and needs an inhaler and walker two months after she first developed symptoms of COVID-19.

“You get this severely and you are never going to be the same,” said Jarvis.

“I am never going to be the same.”

The Courtenay woman said it is shocking to see how people are letting down their guards when it comes to COVID-19.

“I’m so tired of people saying ‘oh, it’s just a flu,'” said Jarvis.

“It’s nothing like a flu.”

The 72-year-old suspects she contracted the virus while out shopping in the Comox Valley in early April and said its symptoms hit her like a freight train.

“You’ve all seen lava coming out of a volcano, burning,” said Jarvis.

“[It’s] terrible pain and it’s pain to the point…. God, please take me.”

The retiree is considered a presumptive case due to her severe symptoms of COVID-19, but her test came back negative. Her doctor told her that’s likely because it was taken three weeks after she first displayed symptoms.

“They were positive that she had the virus but the testing didn’t confirm it,” said Linda’s husband, Rick Jarvis.

While COVID-19 positive cases on Vancouver Island have remained low, there may be many more like Jarvis who did in fact have the virus. The province has started antibody testing those suspected cases to get a better handle on the actual infection rate.

“So we are going to be targeting people who believe and who we believe had COVID-19 over the last couple of months to determine if they have antibodies,” said Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on Monday. 

Antibody testing could also give health officials a better idea of how long people infected with COVID-19 have some immunity to it.

“I’m hopeful we’ll get at least way more answers before we head into the fall,” said Henry.

In the meantime, Jarvis will keep slowly recovering from COVID-19. Her inhalers always at the ready and her husband of 30 years taking care of her and their home, since this onetime self-described spitfire is still too weak to do anything more.

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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