A Vegreville, Alta., woman said she is in disbelief after learning she tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
This is the first time an Albertan who has been diagnosed with the virus is speaking out publicly about their experience.
Jerilyn Gabruck said she was not worried about the virus when she went to Mexico with her husband and two friends on Feb. 29.
“I’m not an overly germophobe person,” she said. “We were taking precautions but we weren’t overly cautious.”
Gabruck, who is a nurse, said she started to develop a fever a few days after returning; she had not gone back to work at that point and wasn’t scheduled to work until the following week.
“I’m a nurse. I work with elderly people in home care. I did not want to transmit something if, by some random chance, I had it,” she said.
Because she had been out of the country, Gabruck called 811 where a nurse assessed her travel history and symptoms. She said she was told to self-isolate immediately and was tested Monday morning.
“I thought better safe than sorry. It’s not going to hurt me. I need to be in isolation for three days waiting for the result but it would hurt if it I brought it to someone…so I thought I might as well test,” she said.
She received the positive test result Tuesday night.
“Disbelief…I really did not think I would be that person,” Gabruck said.
She is now trying to keep a safe distance from her children and her husband, who are also self-isolating in the home with her.
“My husband is doing a lot of meal prep. My kids are currently making their own breakfast. We’re doing what we can but we’re in a small space.”
Gabruck said the family has made a “quarantine fun list.”
“We’re going to try and do some schoolwork when we get work from the teachers. We’re going to play board games and foosball. It’s like a staycation right now. I’m trying to make the best of it,” she said.
The Vegreville woman said her children are aware of the positive test result and the need to self-isolate.
“At first they were really excited – 14 days off school. But now…they’re in a small space with their siblings a lot of the time so we’ll see how that goes,” Gabruck said with a smile.
However, she is not panicking about her situation.
“It feels so unreal. I am by no means an expert. I have no idea what’s going to happen but we can only take it one step at a time and keep supporting people and taking measures that we need to,” she said.
Travellers who have been to the Hubei province in China, Iran or Italy are being told to self-isolate until 14 days has passed since their visit, even if they are feeling well. All other travellers who have been outside of the country are being asked to self-monitor for symptoms.
Alberta Health said that anyone who develops flu-like symptoms should immediately self-isolate and call 811 to be tested.
There are assessment centres in Edmonton and Calgary where people can go to get tested; in other areas of the province, in-home testing is available.
More information about testing can be found on the Government of Alberta website.