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

Parksville Fire Department crews attended the scene of a house fire on Monday, Jan. 18, 2021 at the end of Foster Place in Parksville. No injuries were reported. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Fire crews called to battle house fire in Parksville

No injuries reported, kitty rescued

Emma Nunn from Alberni Valley Rescue Squad waits at the summit of Mount Arrowsmith for the rest of the AVRS rope rescue team on Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. (PHOTO COURTESY DAVE POULSEN, AVRS)
UPDATE: Injured hikers among three rescued in the dark from Mount Arrowsmith

‘It was a very bad, very precarious spot to be able to locate them’

Kim Burden, executive director of the Parksville and District and Qualicum Beach Chambers of Commerce. (PQB News photo)
PQBeat: Chamber of Commerce executive director Kim Burden looks ahead

Podcast: Talk includes 2021 business plans in Parksville, Qualicum Beach, events and more

The Village Way and Highway 19A roundabout is the Town of Qualicum Beach priority for a grant application. (Google Map)
Qualicum Beach council favours roundabout over turf field project

Mayor believes road project has better chance of landing grant

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

B.C.’s Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training announced funding to train community mental health workers at four B.C. post-secondary institutions. (Stock photo)
B.C. funding training of mental health workers at four post-secondary institutions

Provincial government says pandemic has intensified need for mental health supports

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
No Pfizer vaccines arriving in Canada next week; feds still expect 4M doses by end of March

More cases of U.K. variant, South African variant found in Canada

Health-care workers wait in line at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Canadians who have had COVID-19 should still get the vaccine, experts say

Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines were found to have a 95 per cent efficacy

An empty Peel and Sainte-Catherine street is shown in Montreal, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Poll finds strong support for COVID-19 curfews despite doubts about effectiveness

The poll suggests 59 per cent remain somewhat or very afraid of contracting COVID-19

Egg producers in B.C. aren’t obligated to reveal their production sites. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)
Officials say there’s not enough Vancouver Island eggs to meet demand

BC Egg Marketing Board doesn’t regulate labelling, supply needed from off-Island

A Courtenay resident labours to remove the snow build-up from around her car in February 2019. The area may see snow throughout the coming weekend. Black Press file photo
Snow, winter might not be done with Vancouver Island quite yet

Flurries, snow and cold temps predicted for the weekend for mid-Island

A female prisoner sent Langford police officers a thank-you card after she spent days in their custody. (Twitter/West Shore RCMP)
Woman gives Victoria-area jail 4.5-star review in handwritten card to police after arrest

‘We don’t often get thank you cards from people who stay with us, but this was sure nice to see’: RCMP

Most Read