Myriam Larouche takes a selfie while out for some fresh air at Yukon Lodge, at Canadian Forces Base Trenton, Ont. on Monday, Feb. 10, 2020 in this handout photo. A Canadian evacuee from the Chinese epicentre of the novel coronavirus says life under quarantine at an Ontario military base can feel like “summer camp.” Myriam Larouche is among the Canadians who were flown in from Wuhan, China, late last week to undergo two weeks of quarantine at Canadian Forces Base Trenton. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Myriam Larouche

Canadian coronavirus evacuee describes life under quarantine at CFB Trenton

About 11 million people are currently under quarantine in Wuhan

It’s the little luxuries that make all the difference to Myriam Larouche.

Back in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, the Canadian graduate student said she felt trapped in her dorm room. The TV served as one of her only windows into the outside world, said Larouche, and even then, she struggled to make sense of the local news because she doesn’t speak much Mandarin.

By comparison, Larouche said life under quarantine at Canadian Forces Base Trenton in southern Ontario is not too shabby.

Larouche is among 213 Canadians who were flown in Friday from Wuhan, the Chinese epicentre of the novel coronavirus outbreak, to undergo two weeks of quarantine at the army base.

Since settling in late last week, Larouche said she’s been enjoying the comforts of home, from English-language TV news she plays on a loop, to the freedom to roam the base and fraternize with fellow evacuees — from a medically prescribed two-metre distance.

“It kind of feels like summer camp,” the 25-year-old from L’Ascension, Que., said Monday. “Everybody’s so happy to help us, to see us safe and relieved and free. That makes all the difference.”

None of the evacuees at CFB Trenton have shown symptoms of the virus, a Health Canada spokeswoman said Monday.

READ MORE: Canada ready to offer more help to China amid coronavirus outbreak, Trudeau says

Larouche said her private room at Yukon Lodge, a motel on the base, comes with your standard amenities — two beds, a fridge, a microwave, a TV and an ensuite bathroom.

Meals are delivered straight to her door, she said. For lunch Monday, she was served chicken with vegetables and rice, as well as a smattering of snacks.

Housekeeping is perhaps more thorough than your average inn, she said, with cleaners coming in regularly to ”sanitize” her room.

She said health workers visit her twice a day to check her for symptoms of the new coronavirus.

Larouche keeps herself busy by catching up on homework, chatting on the phone with friends or going outside to get some fresh air.

The company of other Canadians staying at the base has been a welcome relief from the isolation she felt waiting in Wuhan, said Larouche. And despite coming from different backgrounds, she said the evacuees have bonded through their shared circumstances.

“Even though we’ve never met, or we don’t know each other, we still can talk and have good conversations because we all left the same thing,” said Larouche.

“We all share the same feelings right now. We all know what everybody’s been through. It makes things easier to understand.”

READ MORE: Second Canadian plane bringing Wuhan evacuees home, foreign minister says

On Monday, a second Canadian plane left Hubei Province in China carrying the last group of Canadians who want to be repatriated, said Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne.

Champagne said there was room for about 200 passengers aboard the flight from Wuhan.

However, the latest batch of evacuees may not receive the same modern accommodations that Larouche reviewed so favourably.

Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, said some of the new arrivals will be lodged in Hastings Hall, a historic building typically used as officers’ quarters that was built in 1934. Each room has its own sink but washrooms are shared and will need to be cleaned frequently to make sure quarantine protocols are followed, Tam said.

Public health officials and Canadian Forces personnel are working to install wireless internet to make their stay more comfortable.

About 11 million people are currently under quarantine in Wuhan, where the new coronavirus is believed to have originated.

READ MORE: New coronavirus has infected more than 40600 people globally

Health authorities have documented seven confirmed cases in Canada of the illness, known as 2019-nCoV.

There have been more than 40,000 cases reported in mainland China, with a death toll of 908.

— By Adina Bresge in Toronto

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

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

Just Posted

UPDATE: Work on Massey Tunnel replacement on hold after snap election called

The business case for the new crossing was expected to be completed this fall

Horgan’s election call ‘nakedly opportunistic,’ political scientist says

Premier says campaign will ‘fully comply’ with public health directions

Dozens of Canadian venues to light up red in support of entertainment workers

Local facilities among dozens across Canada to participate in Light Up Live

Canada West Golf Championships cancelled due to COVID-19 travel restrictions

UBC, UBC-O, UFV and UVic athletes will not hit the links this year, Kelowna was set to host

CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of Sept. 20

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

B.C. reports 96 new COVID-19 cases, one hospital outbreak

61 people in hospital as summer ends with election

‘Unprecedented’ coalition demands end to B.C. salmon farms

First Nations, commercial fishermen among group calling for action on Cohen recommendations

Earthquake off coast of Washington recorded at 4.1 magnitude

The quake was recorded at a depth of 10 kilometres

B.C.’s top doctor says she’s received abuse, death threats during COVID-19 response

Henry has become a national figure during her time leading B.C.’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic

BC Liberals must change gears from election cynicism, focus on the issues: UBC professors

COVID-19 response and recovery is likely to dominate platforms

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. could be without a new leader for multiple weeks after Election Day: officials

More than 20K mail-in voting packages were requested within a day of B.C. election being called

Vancouver Island sailor stranded in U.S. hospital after suffering massive stroke at sea

Oak Bay man was attempting to circumnavigate the world solo

Majority needed to pass COVID-19 budget, B.C. premier says

John Horgan pushes urgent care centres in first campaign stop

Most Read