‘I get infections all the time’: Protecting the vulnerable from novel coronavirus

The message to Canadians has been clear from health officials amid the novel coronavirus outbreak: stay indoors and limit your interactions with others.

While bars and restaurants across the country have voluntarily shut down, officials are concerned about those who continue to gather in large groups.

Simply because some have a strong, healthy immune system and could fight off COVID-19 if they were diagnosed, it doesn’t mean others have the same luxury, says 28-year-old Sinead Zalitach.

Zalitach has a rare disease called Parkes Weber syndrome, a vascular system disorder that can be life-threatening. She recently recovered from a case of septicemia, a blood infection.

“With my condition, especially with viral stuff … that can impact me,” she said. “I’m one of those people who catches everything … I could lose my ability to walk, my ability to move.”

“I get infections all the time.”

As the number of cases of COVID-19 increases in Canada, Zalitach worries that there may be a lack of beds if she needs assistance. Her doctor has told her to avoid the hospital, as there’s a higher chance she could get sick there — unless her life is in danger.

Health Canada recommends “protective self-separation” for those at risk for severe illness due to COVID-19, which they define as immunocompromised people, older adults and those with an underlying medical condition. 

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