When a COVID-19 contact tracing assistant started his day on April 25, he didn’t expect to save a life.
Nake Bhupal was assigned to call a person who had tested positive for COVID-19 in the Fraser Health region in order to do an assessment and see how they were doing.
As soon as the person answered the phone Bhupal said he knew something was terribly wrong.
“I was doing overtime that night because it was part of the third wave and I had two co-workers with me and no supervisors in the room so I called my case because I was supposed to be just doing an assessment and asking how she was doing,” Bhupal told Global News.
When she answered the phone I heard just kinda gasping and I couldn’t make out any words besides ‘I can’t get it out’ so luckily because of my training with St. John Ambulance I can recognize when people are in distress like that so I quickly told her you don’t have to say anything else just make sure your door is unlocked if you can and someone will come and help you.”
That is when Bhupal picked up his cell phone and called 911, telling them he is a contact tracer with the CDC and his client is experiencing severe respiratory symptoms.
He said he had to hang up then and didn’t know what had happened to the woman until a week later when he received an email from her ICU nurse.
“Apparently she had woken up in ICU and she was so grateful I had got to her in time, really lucky I was able to call at that perfect moment,” Bhupal said. “A lot of people are kinda stubborn with COVID so it’s really often we find people have severe symptoms but downplay it.”
Bhupal said it’s important for everyone to know that COVID symptoms can escalate really quickly and people need to get help right away if their condition worsens.
“We tell people that on the phone but it’s hard when it’s a new virus and we don’t know how our bodies will react to it,” he added.
Bhupal said it’s a miracle he says he was just doing his job and it was the right time for her.
The woman has now reached out to Bhupal and the two plan to get together for a visit at some point.