“Please wear a mask – I can’t stress enough how important it is”

An EMT based in Luton has shared her story of spending her birthday alone while self-isolating to encourage others to wear a mask and make sure they are using PPE correctly.

Julia Horswell took an asymptotic swabbing test at the start of August. She found out the following day that another member of staff she had shared a room with during the test had returned a positive result, despite being asymptomatic.

The news meant that Julia was forced to self-isolate for 14 days – which coincided not just with her birthday but also two weeks of annual leave she had booked.

“It was the worst news I could have heard,” said Julia, who herself had coronavirus in April and also lost someone close to her as a result of COVID-19. “I had lots of plans for my birthday and was looking forward to my annual leave as, like everyone else, I’d had a tough few months working through the pandemic.

“Some people might think 14 days off would be lovely. But they would be wrong! You can’t see you friends or family, or just pop to the shop, and can only exercise in your garden, which isn’t fun. I also live alone, so had 14 days of my own company ahead of me.

“My birthday was upsetting as I spent the day alone. Although I had lots of birthday wishes, I had no presents, no cake, and I didn’t see anyone.

“This situation was nobody’s fault – it was a complete accident. But it has shown me just how important it is to wear a mask. Please, please do it to protect yourself, your family and your colleagues.

“I had been following the rules and still got caught out. I will be much stricter about social distancing when I get back to work as a result.”

Published 14th August 2020

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