Sylvia Olsen in quarantine, ill after husband tests positive for COVID-19

Sylvia Olsen, author, historian and consultant on First Nations housing, is in quarantine in her North Saanich home with her husband, who has tested positive for novel coronavirus.

Her son, interim Green Party leader Adam Olsen, said Thursday that it has been difficult for society to grasp the severity and consequences of the virus.

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“This is really substantively disruptive thing and a disruptive virus and it really hit home personally, for sure,” he said.

The two became ill after a trip to Toronto two weeks ago and have been in self-imposed quarantine since then, Olsen said. Had they not made that decision, it’s likely others in their family would have been impacted, he said.

Olsen urges people to realize that the virus could impact anybody and it is critical to follow safety precautions set out by provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. “You have to be taking this seriously — by taking it seriously, we limit the spread to others.”

Sylvia Olsen’s symptoms include exhaustion, a loss of taste and smell, he said. The couple remain ill but it appears that their conditions are not worsening, Olsen said. His mother seems to be improving.

It is presumed that she has coronavirus because her husband, Tex, who has pneumonia, tested positive this week, Olsen said.

“It has been a pretty rough couple of weeks for them, for sure.”

Olsen said his mother, who is 65, has been video-conferencing with family members and explaining the situation to her grandchildren.

A nearby family member is dropping groceries off outside the house.

The family is hoping for the best.

“Exactly when they will be clear to leave the house is totally unknown,” Olsen said.

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