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Quesnel resident recounts tough COVID-19 infection

Sandra Lewis said a COVID infection in February “hit her like a ton of bricks”
Tami Vik, left, is inducted by Rotarian Sandra Lewis on Thursday, Feb. 3. into to the Rotary Club of Quesnel with Tania Milliken and Bill Anderson. (Rotary Club of Quesnel Facebook)

For Sandra Lewis, catching COVID-19 wasn’t expected, and the symptoms were severe.

“I’m not often sick, I get my flu shot every year, all that kind of stuff, but I’m telling you this hit me like a ton of bricks,” she said.

Lewis said she first realized something was wrong Feb. 17. That week saw the Quesnel local health area post the highest rate of cases since the pandemic began, according to BC Centre for Disease Control data.

Lewis said her symptoms included a “vicious” headache and exhaustion. While she wasn’t able to get a rapid test from the provincial government, Lewis was able to get her hands on one and confirmed she had COVID-19. She was bedridden for three days, and didn’t return to work until more than a week later.

After testing positive, Lewis said talking to a nurse’s hot-line was a relief.

“Just talking to a real-live person really helped.” Lewis said.

“If you’re running down to the hospital every time you’re not feeling well, there won’t be any room for everybody.”

READ MORE: Seniors Advocacy Service going strong through pandemic

Lewis is one of the 41 per cent of people living in the Quesnel local health area who have received a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Just under 75 per cent of people have had two doses as of March 29.

“There’s nothing cut and dried about this COVID,” Lewis said. “All I know is if I hadn’t had gotten vaccinated, I probably would have died.”

While Lewis was lucky COVID-19 didn’t affect her harshly, others who caught it around the same time weren’t as lucky, including an uncle with close family members who were not vaccinated.

“I wasn’t so worried about me, I was worried about passing it onto someone else.” she said.

“I lost three (people) quite close to me, they were all quite aged.”

Lewis, who works as the office manager at AC&D insurance, added she would never have come back to work until she got a negative test.

“If I wouldn’t have taken the precautions and stayed home, because Omicron is so contagious, it would have gone right through this whole office, and who knows, maybe someone wouldn’t have made it,” she said.

Lewis, who has diabetes, said she phoned her doctor before getting vaccinated.

“He’s been keeping me alive for the past 14 years,” she said.

“If I trust him with all the other medications and his suggestions and recommendations — who more can I trust?”

Northern Health runs a vaccination clinic at the Quesnel Seniors’ Centre from Tuesday to Saturday from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

For Lewis, she just hopes her first bout of COVID-19 is her last.

“I’m glad I got my vaccinations, I’m glad I got my booster, I will continue to get it and I just hope to hell I’m really immune to it now,” she said with a laugh.

READ MORE: B.C. premier tests positive for COVID-19 as vaccine card set to end

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