London, Ont., city councillor and Deputy Mayor Josh Morgan is opening up about his family’s experience isolating due to COVID-19 after his five-year-old son tested positive on a rapid test.
Morgan said the positive case resulted in a “whirlwind of decisions” as he and his wife determined how to “navigate this in a household of six.”
Soon after Max came home from school Tuesday, Morgan said, he told his parents he wasn’t feeling well.
“We have a young baby, too, so I thought, ‘You know, just in case, we’ll separate them.’”
A rapid test came back positive and Morgan and his wife, Melanie, decided that he and Max would isolate in a portion of the house while Melanie, their infant and their two older daughters would cohort together.
One aspect of the situation that he found surprising and challenging was to discover the impact of the results on his son mentally.
“Max can be a perfectionist at times. You know, he’s only five, but he likes to do the right thing. And I can tell you his reaction was he felt pretty crushed,” Morgan said.
“He felt like he had done something wrong, that he had made a mistake and that’s why he got COVID.”
Morgan said he explained to his son that it was not a personal failing, that the Omicron variant is just very transmissible, that his son had had his first dose of COVID-19 vaccine and would soon get his second and that the family made all the right decisions after the rapid test came back positive.
“When he woke up feeling a little bit better (Wednesday) morning, I think he felt a little more optimistic.”
Fortunately for Morgan, the majority of the meetings he had this week were virtual. He added that, “out of a courtesy, even though they wouldn’t be close contacts,” he notified three people he had contact with on Monday, the day before Max tested positive, to let them know that there was a case in his household.
His wife, meanwhile, is a principal at a school and has had to work remotely. His kids, who only just returned to in-person learning, have had to return to the virtual format as they isolate.
“It’s kind of a busy household and we’re doing all this kind of separated in different areas of the house with Max and I together and the others in other spots.”
Morgan added that his experience also highlights the power of community, sharing that he’s had “lots of people offer to drop off something that we might need” and checking in asking about how they are doing.
“I really appreciate that and I and I certainly feel for everybody who’s had to go through this over and over the past few years and who still will have to go through this in the future. You’re certainly not alone and everything you’re feeling is very normal, and that’s OK.”
The Middlesex-London Health Unit reported 230 COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, but daily case counts are no longer considered a fully reliable reflection of COVID-19 activity in the region due to changes in eligibility for PCR testing amid the highly transmissible Omicron variant.
Instead, the health unit has said those with COVID-19-like symptoms should consider themselves positive for COVID-19.
The health unit has provided information on what to do if you develop symptoms, test positive on a rapid test or PCR test or have been exposed to someone who has tested positive.
On Tuesday, MLHU acting medical officer of health Dr. Alex Summers suggested that while COVID-19 rates continue to be high in the region, there are early indications that “we are seeing a plateau in the burden of illness in our community.”
Researchers at Western University, who have been tracking the viral load of SARS-CoV-2 excreted in the feces of infected individuals via sampling from London’s five wastewater treatment plants, say recent data suggests the city is past the peak of the Omicron wave.
— with files from Global News’ Andrew Graham