'Coming back is always the safest': Doctor offers advice for people sick with COVID-19 at home

A top Ontario doctors is encouraging people who are sick with COVID-19 to recognize problematic signs during their illness and to not hold back on seeking medical care.

“It is important to recognize worsening symptoms,” Dr. Chris Simpson, the medical executive vice-president at Ontario Health told CTV News Toronto on Tuesday.

Simpson said to look for any changes including:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest discomfort that doesn’t go away
  • New confusion
  • Bluish hue to the lips, suggesting reduced oxygen
  • Trouble keeping fluids down, leading to dehydration.

Simpson said even if the symptoms don’t seem to be staying the same in “a non-specific way,” it’s a trigger to be evaluated by medical professionals or to be re-evaluated.

“Your health matters. We want you to be seen. The emergency departments are not overrun. The family physicians, if you have a family physician or a primary care practitioner, they want to see if you if you’re having these types of symptoms,” he said.

Simpson said there is no shame returning for care after a medical visit.

“If you’ve been seen in an urgent care centre, or an emergency department or in your family doctor’s office and things are okay in the moment and you go home and things don’t seem to be getting better, coming back is always the safest thing to do,” he said.

Simpson said he’s heard from COVID-19 patients and those who are not infected with the disease that they’re afraid to come to the emergency department or that they don’t want to burden medical staff with what they may believe is a “small” problem.”

He said the chances of picking up COVID-19 in a health care setting are “very, very low,” and likely much lower than going to a grocery store.

“Number one, you shouldn’t be afraid to come to a health-care setting. We know how to keep people safe,” he said.

39-year-old Brampton dad dies at home alone

Ontario’s Office of Chief Coroner is investigating 29 cases of COVID-19 deaths, including the factors and commonalities in cases, but said there are not specific indications in the early stages of its work to suggest people avoided or did not reach out for health-care.

Vincenza Vono’s said she received a call from the coroner after her husband, and father to their four-month-old daughter, Mauro Vono, died on April 20.

Vincenza said her husband got sick after Easter. To protect the family, she and the baby moved out. She said he went to an urgent care clinic asking for an X-ray but was told he didn’t warrant one. Despite being in regular communication with Vincenza, he died two days later at home.

“It’s not fair,” she said on Monday in an emotional interview with CTV News Toronto. “I don’t want this tragedy to happen to any other family.”

“Seek medical attention. Don’t be afraid to go to the hospital and please get vaccinated when you can.”

Dr. Simpson with Ontario Health said that while the vast majority of people who test positive for COVID-19 do not require specific treatment, some people do.

“These are tragic cases and we’re definitely seeing it in wave three in particular younger patients who are definitely sicker, a small percentage of them tend to deteriorate very rapidly,” he said.