COVID strikes young family

Parents share their story to raise awareness and caution


When the Tribune called Steve Fortin and asked if he would share his family’s experience with COVID-19 he said, “If it makes people aware and maybe saves a life, I’d do it in a heartbeat!”

The Fortins suffered an anguishing experience these past weeks, at some moments so severe that Steve thought he might be in his last days. He and his wife Kathleen Fortney moved from Fort Erie to Sturgeon Falls on August 28, 2020, and were doubly terrified when they came down with COVID-19 because they didn’t know many people in the area to turn to for help. Worse, they suffered the panic of what would happen to their two daughters, Karysa and Cadence, aged 5 and 4, who also tested positive but were thankfully asymptomatic.

Steve Fortin is employed at the recycling facility operated by West Nipissing Environmental Services. His case has recently been listed as “resolved” and he says, “Every day I’m feeling a bit better. I’ve cleared all the symptoms but you have quite a few days for the energy to come back. The body weakens and the immune system takes awhile to recover.”

Steve and Kathleen contracted COVID-19 through community contact. Steve says, “Public Health can only assume where you got it, but determining exactly is impossible. It could have come from a Tim Hortons debit machine or a Walmart debit machine. They can’t pinpoint but they try to get within a certain area. It may have come from a health worker we were associating with – not in Sturgeon Falls but definitely up north.”

However he got it, the virus completely wiped out the otherwise young and healthy couple. It was on December 22, 2020, when Steve first started showing symptoms of cold and sinus problems. He never considered it could be anything worse, life was going on, and he went to work. “I work in the recycling department, the shop part, not on the truck. I was around other people, but within safe distance, thankfully. The health department called my work and explained what was going on and everyone was tested and everyone is negative. That was a relief!”

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