Nedeea Siwallace and her partner, Carlos Andy, with their children Shakira 14, Dre 10, and Tamacia 4 (photo submitted)

Nedeea Siwallace and her partner, Carlos Andy, with their children Shakira 14, Dre 10, and Tamacia 4 (photo submitted)

Bella Coola family shares COVID-19 experience to help fight stigma associated with virus

Nedeea Siwallace and her partner decided that being honest was the best way to keep everyone safe

Coping with the challenges of being diagnosed with COVID-19 is challenging enough, but the fishbowl of a small town can make especially difficult to avoid the stigma and fear associated with the illness, even when you do everything right.

Nedeea Siwallace tested positive for COVID-19 and her partner exhibited the same symptoms, but ultimately tested negative. They decided to be completely transparent about it in an attempt to both protect and inform the community.

“I feel the only way we are going to get through this is honesty with each other and ourselves,” said Siwallace. “We took this really seriously as we didn’t want to pass this on to anyone else in the community.”

Siwallace said her COVID-19 symptoms were so mild that she initially thought she was just experiencing the symptoms of being a parent to young children.

“I got a cold in December and didn’t really think anything of it,” she shared. “I was tired off and on but I’ve been home with my kids for four weeks, of course I’m going to be tired.”

Two of Siwallace’s three children had been ill in early December, but also exhibited very mild symptoms. Since the family was staying at home regardless, Siwallace didn’t have them tested right away. However, once her and her partner began to also show symptoms, she decided she had better have it done.

“I got the positive result on Jan. 10 and I was shaking, I was nervous and upset,” said Siwallace. “I was really worried about anyone I had been in contact with.”

Even though her contagious period had ended prior to that, on Dec. 29, Siwallace still stayed in isolation after the fact as she was worried about passing it on. Since then her and her family has been cleared by Vancouver Coastal Health to end their isolation, but rejoining society hasn’t been exactly easy.

“Everyone is looking at you for testing positive,” she said. “I understand it’s really scary and people are fearful, but I’ve had some people tell me that they are afraid to get tested because of the shame.”

Siwallace said some of her family members were pulled aside when doing shopping for her and family.

“I felt awful, I didn’t want to pass this around,” Siwallace said. “When I was out of isolation and I went to run a few errands I felt nervous about the way people were looking at me.”

Siwallace said she decided to share her story after other people commented they had felt the same way, and she felt that being honest with one another was the best way to stop COVID from spreading. It seems that approach has been working; locally the cases have dropped from a high of 63 down to just four in the past week, a major achievement for this small community.

“Some people did everything they could to help and we really appreciated that,” Siwallace said. “I know how much this virus scares people but we all need to be honest with one another right now.”

Siwallace says she has no idea where the family contracted it and while she still has a few lingering symptoms, both her and her family have all almost fully recovered..

“I still have a cough but the doctors said it could linger for weeks to months, but you are OK to be in public if you are cleared by Vancouver Coastal Health, just keep following the protocols of washing hands,” she said. “In the spring we were so scared we didn’t even see anyone for weeks, so right now we are just feeling grateful that we have all recovered so well.”

Read More: Active COVID cases drop to four; schools re-open for face-to-face instruction

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sandi Griffiths is the region’s new district manager of transportation for the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
New MOTI district manager takes the wheel in Williams Lake

Sandi Griffiths replaces Todd Hubner who retired recently

Mclean Silverton rides a rail in Boitanio Park - one of seven new features installed by the city this past week. (Greg Sabatino photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Snow park in Boitanio open for riding

If any users find that the park requires attention, please contact city hall at 250-392-2311

A snowfall warning has been issued for Williams Lake and Quesnel. (Black Press Media)
Snowfall warning issued for Cariboo region

Between 10 to 15 cm expected

Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP) co-ordinator Surinderpal Rathor (from left) Judy Gibbons and Rajneesh Khugsal, seen here in 2020, are all ready to help people file their taxes. (Patrick Davies photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake volunteers ready to offer community income tax program

Co-ordinator Surinderpal Rathor said he has already received inquiries

Women’s Contact Society community liaison Eileen Alberton with her dogs Luigi, left, and Sami enjoys a daily walk in Big Lake. (Photo submitted)
Women’s wellness focus of International Women’s Day events in Williams Lake

In its third year, the event will be offered virtually

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Doctors and counsellors warn of an increase in panic attacks, anxiety, depression and suicide ideas between ages 10 to 14, in Campbell River. ( Black Press file photo)
Extended pandemic feeding the anxieties of B.C.’s youth

Parents not sure what to do, urged to reach out for help

Kara Sorensen, diagnosed with lung cancer in July, says it’s important for people to view her as healthy and vibrant, rather than sick. (Photo courtesy of Karen Sorensen)
B.C. woman must seek treatment overseas for inoperable lung cancer

Fundraising page launched on Karen Sorensen’s behalf, with a goal of $250,000

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

Most Read