Snuneymuxw First Nation’s Daisy Elliott has gone public with her COVID-19 diagnosis in the hope of instilling a sense of the seriousness about the illness in people. (Facebook)

Snuneymuxw First Nation’s Daisy Elliott has gone public with her COVID-19 diagnosis in the hope of instilling a sense of the seriousness about the illness in people. (Facebook)

Snuneymuxw woman goes public with COVID-19 diagnosis to keep others safe

A warning to all that the virus is here, and a call for compassion over stigmatization

With tears welling in her eyes Snuneymuxw First Nation’s Daisy Elliott waited for friends and family to join her Facebook Live session.

“I am one of the ones that tested positive for COVID-19,” she said, as the tears fell down her face and into her mask. “So, I am in isolation and I want to tell you I took all of the precautions. I’m scared.”

Elliott is part of the Covid Action Cowichan group on Facebook and allowed her 15-minute live video to be shared on that page for others to see.

The fear of being stigmatized was over-ridden by Elliott’s desire to keep people safe.

“Just please pass no judgments. I do feel bad. I do feel guilty and I know I don’t need to because it’s like catching the common flu. It’s hard not to feel guilty but I do. I did the whole sanitizing thing, the mask, everything,” she said. “I don’t want us to create a stigma around anyone who has contracted COVID-19. It can happen to anybody.”

Elliott said her symptoms started small, just some congestion.

“I thought I was getting a sinus cold: very congested,” she said. Pain plagued her after Christmas.

“I felt horrible a few days after Christmas. My body hurt so bad it hurt to move. My head hurt. It hurt to lift my head,” she explained. “I think yesterday I started losing my smell and my taste. My throat is sore today. I’m just praying that I got through the worst of how I’ve felt.”

Despite being the one who is ill, Elliott is most worried for her parents, and scared for her children.

“I think the hardest thing is having to send my five-year-old away from me because he’s a cuddler,” she said. “I’m just so filled with anxiety and fear right now. I just want my kids to be OK.”

So far her children aren’t showing any signs of symptoms.

“I know my dad is not feeling well and I’m terrified,” she said. “So please pray for my parents.”

B.C. reported 2,211 new COVID-19 cases and 45 deaths over the past four days, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said during a Jan. 4 press briefing. Henry said 64 of the new cases were in Island Health.

Despite her hesitation in going public, “I am a firm believer that if you know you have it, it’s OK to share it with the ones that love and care for you,” Elliott said. “I know it’s not needed for me to share. I could keep it to myself but I know there are people that love and care about my family and myself and it doesn’t hurt to get the support.”

That, and it sends a message to the community that nobody’s immune. The virus is here, on the Island and people need to take it seriously, she said.

“So please no judgment, no criticism, because it’s not worth it. And please be safe.”

Elliott has been updating her family and friends and is buoyed by the support she’s received since her first video was posted publicly.

“I’m overwhelmed with the kindness and the love and the support I’ve received from my first video,” she said in a later update. “It eased my heart. It eased my fear. It’s still there, of course, but not as much.”

Wash your hands. Wear a mask. Stay safe.

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