March 21, 2020
COVID-19 has caused massive distress, disease and confusion. I have to admit I was confused. After all, hearing that 8 or 9 elderly people died didn’t sound that different from a usual flu season. Things have changed, and keep changing, though and it has become apparent that COVID is much worse than the typical flu.
It spreads faster, it lasts longer, and it causes a very severe pneumonia that is far more likely to kill people than the flu.
Last week I started to feel unwell: cough, chills, muscle aches. I was swabbed Thursday morning and tested positive for COVID-19. I’m now in isolation in my basement for the next week. So far my family is well.
I am a completely healthy 46 year old. The only illnesses I have ever had was the flu about 17 years ago and a gastrointestinal infection while travelling in Malaysia about 20 years ago. Honestly, I have never taken a Tylenol before. I have taken Advil after my c-sections to deliver my children. No other medications, ever.
This flu feels terrible. I hope it does not progress into pneumonia but time will tell. I feel a bit better today so am feeling optimistic.
I have been in contact with the Medical Officer of Health. He indicated that I likely did not expose patients to COVID-19 because I was not working when I got sick. There were three days before I stopped work when I did see patients and at that time I had a runny nose. Those patients (March 10,11, 12th)will be notified to watch for symptoms for 14 days from seeing me, as there is a very small chance I could have had the virus those days (many days before I got truly sick with COVID so that was likely just a non-COVID cold or allergies). Those patients will be getting a letter by email.
Our clinic has shut down for in-person physician visits except for the last few patients finishing IVF and a few pregnancy scans.
Why does an IVF program need to shut down?
We want to limit person-to-person contact and transmission of the virus between patients and staff
There is a risk our staff become sick causing us to be short staffed and unable to perform our work
The impact of COVID-19 on pregnancy is unknown so it is not prudent to encourage pregnancy at this time. So far, there is no evidence of harm to the fetus, but the illness in pregnant women is more severe.
We want to donate our resources to the hospitals to help them help sick patients
How long will we be closed?
We truly don’t know. If we can get a handle on it and “flatten the curve” like China and South Korea have, I think we will be open in 6-8 weeks. If we cannot get on top of it, then we may go the way of Italy and closed 3-4 months.
What happens if I need help and the clinic is closed?
Ok, we aren’t completely closed. Administrative staff and doctors are all still working full-time. We are doing phone calls instead of in-person visits. We have a group of nurses also still working to answer calls and give guidance. The only part that is closed is the IVF lab portion: the part where IUIs and IVF are done.
We are still here for you. If you are worried, call us - someone will talk to you. Email me if you need, as well: email@example.com
The good news for me is I will soon be immune to the virus. While there are two strains, it is my understanding that having had COVID-19 I will be immune (likely to both strains for the rest of this pandemic. Then I can resume in-person visits and help out my friends and neighbours who should not or cannot leave their homes.
Stay inside. Stay away from the elderly. I hope no one else gets sick!
Dr. Beth Taylor MD, FRCSC
Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility
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