The car Lawrence O'Connor raced in the Duel in the Desert, a race benefitting Amnesty International. (Submitted)

First publicly confirmed COVID-19 case in Port Hardy has been isolated since before symptoms occurred

“Hopefully this particular strain will die inside of me.”

Port Hardy has its first publicly confirmed case of COVID-19.

Lawrence O’Connor shared in a Facebook post that he tested positive for the disease while in quarantine after a trip to the U.S.

“There’s nothing pleasant about this painful illness; I feel like I’ve been eaten by wolves, and s**t off a cliff,” he wrote.

The good news, if there is any, is that O’Connor has self-isolated since arriving at the Vancouver Airport Nov. 16, so there’s been no one for the B.C. Health Authority to do contact tracing with.

“I was lucky enough that I didn’t stumble around in public, not knowing I was carrying it,” he told the Gazette over the phone.

O’Connor travelled to Las Vegas to participate in a charity stock car race for Amnesty International. Planning ahead for the required 14-day traveller quarantine, he’d enlisted friends to drop off food and supplies at his door.

After a few days of hanging around the house, he started to feel body aches. By Saturday (Nov. 21) it was full on sickness. He contacted B.C. Health and scheduled a drive-through COVID-19 test for Sunday.

We’ll call within 48 hours if it’s positive, they told him. Two days passed. I’m in the clear, he thought until at hour 48-and-a-half, he got the call.

O’Connor is determined to keep the virus contained to himself, and plans to stay home even though his quarantine is technically over this weekend.

“Hopefully this particular strain will die inside of me. That’s the only way this thing will be defeated, is contact tracing and isolation.”

He was surprised to learn from the B.C. Health officer who called with the positive test news that for someone at his level of viral load, he’s only contagious for two days before and 10 days after symptoms start to show. B.C. Health confirmed that this is generally the case, but recommendations are adjusted on a case-by-case basis.

O’Connor sat beside one person on the plane from Las Vegas to Vancouver, but felt he had to insist that the CDC take his flight and seat numbers. They said they’d post it on their website, but he didn’t get the impression they were going to contact other passengers. B.C. Health does not have purview over flight contact tracing, but confirmed that 48-hours before symptom onset is the standard for regular contact tracing.

As for the stock car race, it wasn’t his best, but he’s glad that the event raised a lot of money for Amnesty International.

Do you have something to add to this story or something else we should report on? Email: zoe.ducklow@blackpress.ca


Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Longlake Chateau in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak now over at seniors’ facility in Nanaimo

Island Health commends Longlake Chateau for containing the spread of the virus

Nanaimo Fire Rescue investigator Mark Jonah probes the scene of a blaze that destroyed two apartments on Sunday, April 18. The cause of the blaze has not been determined. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
UPDATE: RCMP say Wakesiah Avenue fire was arson, suspect has been arrested

35-year-old man arrested for allegedly starting fire lived in the complex

The City of Nanaimo will further investigate an initiative to set up two 12-cabin sites to create transitional emergency housing for people experiencing homelessness. (Black Press file photo)
City of Nanaimo will ask for expressions of interest to operate tiny cabin sites

Staff expresses concern about workload, councillor says sheltering people must take priority

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks at a press conference Monday, April 18. (B.C. Government image)
New COVID-19 cases tick down on the central Island

New cases held to single digits three days in a row

FILE – NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, September 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

Minister Mike Farnworth says travel checks only being considered at major highway junctions, ferry ports

Police executed a search warrant at the Devils Army Clubhouse on Petersen road in Campbell River on August 10, 2017.
Murder trial into 2016 Campbell River killing underway in Victoria

Ricky Alexander is charged with the first-degree murder of John Dillon Brown

..
Abbotsford nurse at ‘breaking point’ pleads with public to take COVID-19 seriously

Instagram post urges general population to stay home, wear a mask and get vaccinated

Alex Mah of Chemainus spends a sunny day at Kin Beach reading to daughter Beatrice Mah. 3. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Vancouver Island’s mini-summer poised to fade

Cooler and damper this weekend, summer-like conditions not likely to return until late June

A native-to-B.C. wild queen bee (bombus melanopygus for those in the know) feeds on a periwinkle flower. (Submitted/Sarah Johnson, Native Bee Society of BC)
B.C.’s wild bees need messy gardens to survive

The year-long nesting period makes habitat a primary concern for wild bees

A wildfire has started near Gold River, and B.C. Wildfire Service crews are on scene. Photo courtesy Coastal Fire Centre
Small wildfire burning in difficult terrain near Gold River

Coastal Fire Centre investigating, but confirms blaze is human-caused

FILE – Health-care workers wave to people clapping and yelling thank you to the frontline workers during the 7 p.m.-tribute outside the Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver, B.C. Wednesday, April 8, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. nurses issue plea for all to follow health orders as hospitalizations spike

Nurses worried about strain COVID-19 is having on hospital capacity, care

University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams is photographed in the stands during the Greater Victoria Invitational at CARSA Performance Gym at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, November 29, 2019. The University of Victoria says Williams has resigned effective immediately. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
University of Victoria women’s rowing coach resigns by mutual agreement

Lawsuit filed last summer accused Barney Williams of verbal abuse

Most Read