A Toronto man living with COVID-19 is sharing his experience and encouraging everyone to continue social distancing to keep people safe.

Stephen Ksiazek started to develop symptoms of the disease about 10 days ago. He said it started with a feeling of terrible jet lag, then a fever of nearly 40 degrees Celsius.

“It's pretty nasty stuff,” the 56-year-old said from isolation at his home in Toronto.

“Vert disoriented, very sore and achey. My wife called an ambulance and took me to the hospital. They tested me at that point. I was dehydrated. They took a chest x-ray and said wait for your test results.”

Ksiazek said that he learned he was tested positive for COVID-19 about a week later. Since then a Toronto Public Health nurse has been calling once or twice a day.

On Monday he said the nurse told him to go back to the hospital in an ambulance because he had trouble breathing and couldn’t stop coughing.

“(They) took another x-ray. The doctor said there were some changes to my lungs, which he didn’t like, but at this point I still didn’t need oxygen and it would be better for me to go home, and if it got worse for me to come back at that point,” Ksiazek said.

“They were saying you know we can put you in the hospital right now but we’re just going to be giving you fluids and that’s it, monitoring you because there’s nothing until you get the point you’re so critical you can’t breathe, there’s no treatment.

Ksiazek left Toronto for a trip to the United Kingdom on March 11. He said his family flew over on an empty plane and interacted with very few people while in London for three days.

After that that they spent time at his wife’s family cottage before returning to Toronto on March 21.

Ksiazek said the return flight was packed and believes that’s how he got exposed to the virus.

“The people that were on the plane were hacking and coughing and you talk about being isolated by six feet, we were isolated by three inches,” he said.

Ksiazek’s message to everyone is to continue distancing and protect one another.

“This is a disease that may not kill me or someone who’s healthy, but if I don’t do my part, it may kill my friend’s grandparents.”

Although he still has a cough, Ksiazek said he’s feeling better, but he still doesn’t know what else the virus may bring until he fully recovers.

“Out of the woods, I don’t know what that means right now. I don’t think anyone really knows how the course of this thing is going to run,” he said.

Ksiazek said he’s isolated in a bedroom, away from his son and wife and makes minimal trips to the kitchen.

He said he won’t be venturing out until his symptoms are gone and he’s given the go-ahead by the public health nurse.

Ksiazek said that he was well-cared for at North York General Hospital, where he was examined in an isolation room and had no contact with other patients.