Winnipeg family denounces ‘irresponsible’ behavior after 8-year contract against COVID-19

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A family in Winnipeg says they are heartbroken having to self-isolate after their eight-year-old daughter tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend.Jenn Martens says her daughter tested positive after visiting the child’s father in Steinbach, Man. He tested positive and soon after, public health officials called Martens and advised him to get tested and take the necessary precautions.

In order to stem the spread of the virus, Martens’ partner Omar Kinnarath has brought his son Hamza to a hotel in the city where they will wait to be tested for the new coronavirus.

“I was shocked and overwhelmed,” Martens said.

“Giving [my kids] the news was very heartbreaking. My daughter was pretty upset and confused and unsure of what this meant to her and my son was crying and actually said, ‘Mom, I don’t want my sister to die.’ ”

Martens and his two children must all be isolated from each other in their home. Martens and her son have both tested negative, but health officials are asking them to stay separated until her daughter is no longer symptomatic so they do not continue to spread.

“She thinks she’s sick… It’s a little hard for her to take right now,” Kinnarath said of her stepdaughter.

While they are apart, Martens says she will need to spend her days sanitizing herself, preparing food to bring for her children, and staying in her room as much as possible.

Meanwhile, Omar and Hamza are stuck in the hotel, unable to do much.

“It changed all of our lives,” Kinnarath said.

Part of the reasons the family are shocked and upset is because they say they have taken every precaution to protect themselves from the virus. Others don’t take the virus so seriously, they say.

“I wear a mask and social distancing and I limit exposure, so I never really thought it would affect me directly,” Martens said.

“People still don’t take it seriously and I’ve done my part. ”

She says so few people wear masks in indoor public places and that worries her.

A protest was held in July calling on Manitoba not to meet mandatory mask requirements that are in place in other provinces. (Tyson Koschik / CBC)

Kinnarath adds that people who believe COVID-19 is a conspiracy and claim public health orders take away their freedom don’t know what it looks like.

“I see nothing more depriving my freedom than being locked up here for two weeks just because some people are irresponsible and cannot follow the rules,” he said.

Martens and Kinnarath hope people learn from their story and start wearing masks in public places, physically distancing themselves, washing their hands and staying home when sick.

“It’s real,” Kinnarath said. “People have to stop thinking so selfishly… this is a community health emergency.”

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