COVID-19 hit this driver’s family hard, now he wants to spread awareness

Truck driver Steve Fortin and his family recently recovered from a tough battle with COVID-19, now he wants to spread awareness about how serious this virus can really be. 

Fortin says he and his wife first noticed symptoms on December 22nd, just three days after unknowingly being exposed to the virus. “Sniffles, slight cough, and a dry, sore nose,” he explained, noting that they believed the symptoms may have been related to sinus issues, or the common cold. 

Fortin says the whole family was being careful and staying isolated in case they had contracted it, but feels they made one serious mistake.

“Here is our mistake: We should have immediately been tested,” he said to The Sudbury Star.

“We are new to the area so we didn’t really go anywhere to spread it, but I did go to work and went to the store, but wore a mask and sanitized regularly and kept a safe distance at all times.”

The symptoms continued until New Years Eve, when he and his wife’s symptoms got more serious and the two “became terribly ill.”

“We couldn’t get off the couch the pain was so bad, fevers and chills almost unbearable,”Fortin explained.

“My wife was vomiting and I was lucky enough not to vomit. Then we got the call: A friend of ours who works in the medical field tested posted for COVID-19. Immediately we called the North Bay COVID center for testing and our results came back positive, as well.”

Luckily, Fortin’s children experienced no symptoms, but he and his wife continued feeling terribly ill. 

“My wife, kids and myself all had COVID-19. They [the kids] didn’t even know they had it but my wife and I were very ill.”

Fortin says he is very thankful for his new community, pointing out their kind help and generosity wile he and his family isolated and recovered for the next three weeks. 

I became so ill I should have been hospitalized, but was afraid that I may never see my kids again,” Fortin explained. 

“I had every symptom possible. and by the second week it started to affect my lungs, nose and bronchial tube. It burned to breathe. One night, I woke up and asked my wife to talk to me because I was sure it may be our last conversation.”

After three weeks of recovery, Fortin and his wife were mostly recovered by Sunday, January 17th. “I feel much better, but still a little weak,” he described.

“As sick as we were, our neighbors were amazing with support and help. My closest neighbor, Marcel, did our grocery shopping and his wife made our family an amazing meat pie,” he says.

“Neighbors were calling to check on us and to offer their help, and I must say thank you so much to them. Sturgeon Falls is the most amazing community we have ever lived in and thank you for accepting us and making us feel so welcomed.”

Apart from the gratitude, Fortin also says he feels like he handled the potential for COVID incorrectly, and hopes his warnings can “save a life.”

“[After our positive test] Public health and I backtracked all our steps to make sure we didn’t come into contact with anyone. They called my work and had employees that were around me tested, and thank God, they were all negative,” he said. 

“My stupidity could have made a lot of people sick,” Fortin admitted. After learning from his own mistake, he hopes others will listen to his advice. 

“If you show any cold or flu symptoms, don’t assume it is. Go get tested, it’s easy, painless and fast.

Always keep your mask on and practice safe distancing in public. It’s so easy to spread this virus. When you go through a drive-thru or use a debit machine, sanitize immediately before they hand your stuff to you. When grocery shopping, ask if your cart was sprayed before you use it and, if not, clean it yourself or request it to be and the most important thing when you’re around friends or family you don’t live with, Wear your mask.”

“I made one mistake and almost lost my life so I feel very lucky to be here and just want to help this amazing community in any way I can. Thank you,” he concluded.