After two years of uncertainty and avoidance, a number of close calls, and knowing at least one household succumbing to COVID at least once a week since the lifting of mask mandates, it was just a matter of time.
When the government lifted the mask mandates and distancing requirements, the schools looked into continuing to require masks, but they found out they couldn’t do it legally. They first encouraged people to keep their masks on quietly through their website. Our school then started posting which grades classes had positive cases and when the student was at school last. Finally, they strongly recommended through emails to keep masks on while indoors. I’m not sure if that was a school or a board-wide decision, but I really appreciate knowing if my child might have had exposure through proximity. Even though PCR testing is no longer available for symptomatic individuals, the region also tracks positivity trends with hospital rates and they even collect wastewater samples weekly!
We even postponed a vacation with friends because a family member had tested positive, and another time, we were advised by our family doctor to isolate ourselves because we were considered close contacts because (the same) friends had come over not knowing that they were positive. We had offered to babysit for a friend as they wanted to go to a wedding on Saturday child-free, but last minute, one of their kids had an ear infection, so instead, we agreed to babysit for her sister’s children instead. Their family is super careful, stay within a small social circle, etc. Turns out, by Monday, one of them had a fever and tested positive for COVID on a rapid antigen test, and j.w started feeling a bit crummy so I asked him to isolate just as a precaution. The following day, he too tested positive as did the rest of their family, and they received notification that at least one other classmate had tested positive by Monday. He isolated for the 5 days, then continued to wear a mask and stay in separate areas for the next 5, and by then, he tested negative again with residual symptoms. Thankfully, everyone else in the household stayed healthy (well, relatively speaking) for the duration, but it was sort of like managing a household as a single parent + feeding the cat. If he wasn’t so fatigued and actually sick, it descriptively sounded like a vacation: sleep, wake up and sit on the back porch with a cup of coffee on hand while watching Netflix, and then go back to sleep again. But, it is easier to have an adult isolate than to require a young child to do so, so thankfully it wasn’t any of them. And, of course, the irony is that the most careful one in the family about it would get it first!
Thinking back, if someone in this household was to get COVID, it was likely the more optimal time to have it, which I’m grateful for:
- Our youngest had a cold, so instead of having the little friends over, j.w offered to babysit at their house; had they come over instead, we would’ve all probably been infected. Though, my friend said that some small research studies suggested that the common cold inhibits COVID from sticking, so that might have helped him too!
- The week j.w isolated, the weather was mild and warm so it was nice that he could sit outside for extended periods without a mask, whether to eat or to get some fresh air
- Our new vent/range hood had come, and thankfully, our friends came over on Sunday to help install it. Otherwise, we would’ve been without a working vent hood for a while as the old one was taken down already and I would’ve needed to use the instantpot or BBQ (which was on the back porch)
- It just happened that I had forgotten I had ordered a week’s worth of Chef’s Plate, so I didn’t have as much menu planning to do or need to do much grocery shopping that week. In addition, I had found a discount code for Voila, so we ordered groceries delivered
- By this time, the screeners no longer mandated that close contacts were required to isolate too, so everyone else could go along with their days, which probably helped as well, as it minimized the time spent together in the same house: the children spent most of the day at school, followed by time at the park, and I was able to work in the office
We half-joke that j.w’s semi-immune for a month or so, so we should take advantage of it. But, COVID is still very much around and now there’s chatter about Monkeypox…