'I just started screaming': Cambridge, Ont. woman finally negative for COVID-19 after 14 tests
KITCHENER -- A Cambridge, Ont. woman is now considered recovered from COVID-19 after her 13th and 14th tests came back negative, 76 days after her first positive test.
Tracy Schofield’s first positive test for the coronavirus was on March 31. She had many of the symptoms other patients have experienced: fever, chills, a headache and difficulty breathing. She says she was barely able to get out of bed, and lost her sense of smell and taste.
Schofield slowly began to recover, and took several more tests in the following weeks.
It wasn’t until her eighth test that she got her first negative.
“I cried because I was so happy,” she told CTV News at the time.
But a day later, there was disappointment when her ninth test came back positive.
In order to be considered recovered from the virus, patients must have two negative results within a 24-hour period.
Schofield’s 10th, 11th and 12th tests also came back positive.
But there was hope, once again, after her 13th test was negative.
"My feeling at first was, I didn't want to get too excited," she says.
But she couldn’t help but share the news on Facebook.
"I had this feeling, even though I know not to get too excited, I had this feeling that this was finally coming to an end."
Schofield was proven right with test number 14.
“I just started screaming,” she says. “76 days it took over my life. It was a relief to finally be past that.”
The virus, she says, has had a huge impact on her life.
Even though she was told that she wasn’t contagious, Schofield took extra precautions while out in public and in her interaction with others.
The thing she missed most was hugs from her family and friends.
“When you’re alone, and you have COVID, it’s different,” she says. “It’s that feeling that you’re alone. You’re isolated from everyone else. Nobody wants to touch you and come near you.”
Schofield says she’s grateful for the healthcare workers who became friends during her long ordeal.
“It could have been an awful experience, worse than it was, if those people weren’t understanding, helpful and encouraging. I had all that from them. Every time I went in they were rooting for me. They didn’t want to see me back.”
While Schofield is considered recovered from the virus, she’s still experiencing symptoms such as numbness in her face and jaw, as well as pain in her left arm.
She also continues to experience shortness of breath.
“Wearing a mask for me is really tough,” she says. “I find I can’t breathe properly.”
She says walking up stairs is still a struggle and she’s putting off playing baseball anytime in the near future.
“I don’t think I could even make it to first base,” she says.
So far, all her tests have come back normal, but the stroke prevention clinic she’s been seeing has scheduled an MRI next week as a precaution.
Schofield is also uncertain about when she’ll be able to return to her job at a local long-term care facility.
“I thought I’d be off two weeks,” she says. “Honestly I never imagined in a million years that this would happen to me.”
Just before getting sick she was working 12 to 16-day stretches. She says she doesn’t have the stamina to do that anymore and her hope is that she will be able to return in a few weeks, working a few days at first.
As part of safety measures at long-term care facilities, workers are required to get two COVID-19 swab tests a month. Schofield jokes that she has “experience with that.”
As her life gets closer to normal, there are still some lingering questions.
“I was lucky enough to make it,” she says. “Why did COVID hit me so hard? Why did I make it? I don’t know the answers to this. I’m just glad I’m still here.”
Schofield also continues to deal with the emotional, mental and physical toll of her 76-day battle with COVID-19.
“Will I ever go back to my old self?” she asks. “I don’t know that. I still cry about it.”