Vicki Scott has been watching media reports about COVID-19 cases in the Interior Health region and says the numbers give a false sense of the situation.
The Kamloops teacher, who is at home in isolation, experiencing symptoms of the virus, said people need to operate under the assumption COVID-19 is already in the community.
“There’s a lot more, I’m suspecting, out there than the general population is believing,” Scott told KTW in a phone interview, stressing the need for the community to act as such.
“I feel like you should expect to get this, right? Act as if people have it because people do. Some people are taking it very seriously, but other people are treating it as a distant threat.”
On Thursday, Scott took to Facebook to share that message. The post had been shared more than 500 times by the next morning.
“What calls me to share this post is that when people hear we are sick, the response I have been getting is, ‘Where have you travelled?!’ or ‘Who did you get it from?,’ as if to have acquired this virus we had to have experienced some special circumstance,” the post states.
“This is not true. People, this virus is everywhere. People you know have it. People you work with have it. People in the grocery stores have it. … We will get through this and be available to help others as others have offered to help us. But hear this, the virus is amongst us.”
Speaking to KTW, Scott stressed she and her family — who did not travel any prior to falling ill — are “fine” and she does not wish to scare anyone, even humbly embarrassed about how the online message blew up when reached by this newspaper.
Scott said she feels tired, has a heavy chest, a cough, a low-grade fever and an intermittent headache. Her husband and daughter started noticing symptoms one week ago, with a bit of a cough on the first day and feeling headachy the following day.
“I didn’t start feeling anything until about Tuesday,” Scott said. “I went out for a walk and I was feeling really heavy in my chest. So, for me, it’s only been like three days and I’m feeling better.”
Scott called her doctor, who advised her to stay home unless symptoms were to worsen. She has not been tested and does not know for sure if she has COVID-19, but she has the symptoms. Her doctor advised her to go to emergency if symptoms were to worsen to the point where she has trouble breathing.
Asked to compare her experience to the common cold or flu, Scott said: “It’s been like no other kind of virus,” she said. “Even though it wasn’t very intense, very mild, but the symptoms of the headache and the feeling in my chest have been unlike a regular flu or cold that I’ve ever had. I feel, I would describe it as a fluid in my head and a fluid in my chest, like a weight. For me, it’s been quite intermittent. The low-grade fever, all the symptoms have been ebbing and flowing and then lots of fatigue, sleeping.”
Five people in Scott’s household have been hunkered down at home in isolation and will continue to do so at the recommendation of health officials.
Since posting to Facebook, Scott said, she has been contacted by others who are at home with similar symptoms
She said others have been reaching out to her, surprised she has symptoms.
Her response has been: “You’re surprised? I’m not surprised.”
It makes her think the idea of contracting the virus has been stigmatized and prompted her to speak “for other people.”
“It’s perception,” she said. “I wrestled with myself for a good day before I made that post because I don’t want, I got a lot of, ‘Oh, get well, we’re thinking of you,’ blah, blah, blah. That’s totally not what I was looking for because we’re fine.
Scott said the most important aspect of sharing the message is to dispel the belief that people can be out and about and be safe because there are only a handful of confirmed cases reported in the Interior Health region.
“Yet, we’re seeing what happened all over the world and we seem to think that until it actually hits, there’s a sense of until we’re inundated with it, we don’t have to worry,” she said. “Where, in fact, we have to beat that thinking.”