'I'm really stuck': Guelph man in constant isolation due to cross-border cancer care
GUELPH -- A Guelph man said he's living in constant isolation because he needs to cross the border every two weeks for cancer treatment.
Dean Nixon said stepping onto his apartment balcony is the closest he’s been to being outside in months.
"I'm really stuck," he said.
Nixon has stage four anal cancer and travels to the National Institute of Health in the United States for an experimental treatment that's not available in Canada.
"I need to get access to what we know works," he said.
Under Canada's COVID-19 restrictions, once he returns home, Nixon needs to self-isolate for 14 days. He said he's now in perpetual quarantine and unable to work.
"When I cross back I'm ordered into isolation for two weeks," Nixon said. "But, the catch-22 is, every two weeks I go for treatment, so the cycle will go on for a year."
There are exemptions for the mandatory isolation order. The Public Health Agency of Canada said people who provide essential services across the border don't need to isolate for 14 days.
Nixon said he's applied for the exemption, but has been denied.
"I have written them every time I've come back and every time I get the same standard form letter that says it's unlikely to change," Nixon said.
"The exemptions are purposefully limited to minimize the introduction and spread of COVID-19. There is currently no exemption from quarantine for individuals returning from medical care appointments from another country," the agency said in a statement to CTV News. "We are aware of the difficulty this may cause for individuals undergoing medical treatment in the U.S."
Nixon said that doesn't make sense to him.
"Where somebody going just for work is OK, but somebody going for health reasons for a very limited time is not," Nixon said. "I can't comprehend that."
He said he's worried about what being trapped in quarantine will mean for his finances and mental health.