'You don't know what it's like:' Ontario woman says she's had seven positive COVID-19 tests in 47 days
KITCHENER -- "Whenever I get the test result, it’s like somebody punches me in the stomach."
Tracy Schofield went to Cambridge Memorial Hospital on Friday to get her eighth swab test for COVID-19.
"They all know me there," she jokes. "It’s 47 days. Why I’m still showing signs, I don’t know that. And those are the answers that I want."
Schofield says she first started experiencing symptoms on March 30. She says she had a fever, chills, a headache, and was gasping for air.
"It was March 31 at 2:30 in the morning when I got my first swab," she remembers. "And then they did the chest x-ray, it was fine."
The next day, the swab results came back: she says she found out she was positive for COVID-19.
Her temperature reached as high as 40.1 C, and wouldn’t come down with Tylenol.
Schofield says she lost her sense of smell and taste.
"I couldn’t smell Vick’s Vapo-Rub, I couldn’t taste salt and vinegar chips," she remembers.
The chills, aches, coughs and shortness of breath left Schofield with little energy to get out of bed.
She says she didn’t leave her room for two weeks, relying on her 17-year-old son to bring her everything she needed.
Fast forward to the middle of May, Schofield says most of her symptoms are gone. She still gets short of breath and some days has a cough. Those symptoms come and go, and she hasn’t had a fever since day seven.
But she's still testing positive.
She says Region of Waterloo Public Health officials released her from self-isolation after 14 days, allowing her to leave her house on April 14.
"I’m careful. I wear a mask. They say I’m probably not contagious, but there’s no way to guarantee that I’m not," she explains.
She’s also been cleared to go back to work as a registered practical nurse.
But because she works in long-term care settings, Schofield says she doesn’t want to put anyone else at risk.
She tries to go for walks twice a day, but they leave her short of breath and wondering if she’ll have to use a puffer for the rest of her life. She says she has no underlying conditions and has never had asthma or allergies.
For Schofield, the hardest part is that nobody has answers for her questions.
"When I hear stories of other people—the woman in Brampton for one. She's only two years older than me and she had the same symptoms as I had. She was at home. She didn't go in the hospital on a ventilator or anything and she didn't make it. And I don't know why I did."
She says what the virus hasn’t taken from her physically, it’s now taking from her mentally.
"It’s tough. And until you live it you don’t know what it’s like," she says.
She says her doctor is trying to work with a specialist in Toronto to see if they can get some answers as to why she has tested positive seven times.
In the meantime, she'll continue to wait for a negative test result, even though she says she doesn't expect one anymore.