Fifteen-month-old Chloe Fabic is spending her days watching the animated series Peppa Pig in a Trenton motel until Friday, when those under a coronavirus quarantine are released — about one-third will return to B.C.
“For Chloe, it’s just been all fun and games, it seems like,” said father Richard Fabic, whose family is in the midst of moving to Victoria.
Chloe and her maternal grandparents were stuck in Wuhan, China, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, before being flown out on a plane chartered by the Canadian government.
Over the next few days, Health Canada will be releasing those repatriated Canadians following a 14-day quarantine period at Canadian Forces Base Trenton. Fourteen days is believed to be the longest incubation period for COVID-19, said B.C. Health Officer Bonnie Henry. “These individuals will no longer be required to self-isolate or take any additional precautionary measures, beyond those measures that help protect us from other respiratory illnesses at this time of year,” said Henry.
Henry also announced the first individual confirmed to have COVID-19 in B.C. has recovered, leaving four remaining people with confirmed COVID-19 in the province. All of them are recovering in isolation at home with support and monitoring from public-health teams.
Fabic said he, Chloe and her maternal grandparents will be medically checked a final time on Friday, and once cleared, they will get in their car and drive to stay with family in Markham, Ont.
“It’s been a long road here,” said Fabic.
Fabic’s ordeal began when Chloe’s mother, Yunfei Li, got a new job in Victoria’s financial sector requiring the family to move across the country.
To make for a smoother transition, Chloe joined her grandparents on a trip to Wuhan province in December, to allow her father time to pack up their home near Toronto. By the time the family realized the seriousness of COVID-19, flights out of Wuhan were already grounded.
“It’s been a bit surreal,” said Fabic. It was a tense time while Fabic advocated to ensure Chloe, a Canadian citizen, and her grandparents, permanent residents in Canada, could be flown home.
Fabic elected to join his daughter in quarantine in Trenton. His wife remained in Victoria because she has just started a new job, he said.
The quarantined family is in what’s called Yukon Lodge, a 290-bed three-storey lodge for military members and their families, about 170 kilometres east of Toronto. It’s one of three such lodges. The motel-type rooms come with a microwave and fridge, TV, wi-fi and a bathroom.
The Red Cross gave Chloe a snowsuit for her first time playing in the snow, but it turned out she was not a fan of the white stuff, Fabic said. Chloe has, however, enjoyed a nearby motel playground and made a friend.
The family receives a boxed breakfast, lunch and dinner left for them outside their door by Red Cross members. People in protective suits regularly take their temperature and wipe down all surfaces in the motel room. “After the first week when we got the notice that no one was exhibiting symptoms, there was a sigh of relief and it makes us all more hopeful now we won’t contract anything during the remaining time here,” said Fabic.
Fabic said he’s collecting mementos from their ordeal for his daughter.
In mid-March, Fabic is planning to drive across Canada. Chloe and her grandparents will fly out and they’ll all meet at their new condominium in downtown Victoria.
Four months ago, Fabic said, he thought moving was the most stressful thing he was facing. The whole experience — from missing his daughter who was under a lockdown in Wuhan, where she took her first steps, to now spending two intense weeks with her in quarantine — has given Fabic a new perspective and new appreciation for spending time with family.
“When Chloe gets into one of her tantrums, I don’t get upset. I smile because at least she’s here.”