An immunocompromised girl from Steinbach and her mom both have COVID-19.

Hallie is a toddler who has Eosinophilic Gastrointestinal Disease (EGID), an ailment that both gives her an allergic reaction to all food and can transform even minor sicknesses into medical emergencies. Her mother, Cari Thiessen, says the two of them received positive tests on Monday. So far, Thiessen has more severe symptoms than her daughter, but she is worried the roles could soon reverse.

“It’s terrifying. Her immune system just is not where it should be and so getting this positive result is just very very scary.” To illustrate her point, Thiessen shares an example from the past. “Last year, she had the smallest of colds that turned into a horrific ‘can’t breathe and throwing up’ scenario so we were in the ER over and over and over. Things just turn so badly so quickly with her because of this condition.”

Having EGID means Hallie cannot eat conventional food and instead is fed formula through a tube that is inserted through her nose. As Thiessen explains, many corrective surgeries that should have long taken place have been postponed or cancelled due to recent complications in the medical system arising from the pandemic. This COVID-19 diagnosis happened on the cusp of a pivotal surgery that would have internalized Hallie’s formula tube, freeing her face of the constant obstruction. With hospitals only filling up, Thiessen is unsure how long they will have to wait for the rescheduled procedure.

“Us getting hit with Covid is one more thing that we really didn’t need,” she states.

Now living through the throes of the coronavirus, Thiessen looks at the opposition towards government restrictions that exist in southeastern Manitoba and is frustrated.

“I personally have tried so hard to advocate for people being safe during all of this,” she says. “Our Covid results in Steinbach are just so out of control right now and, because of Hallie, I really wanted to use my platform to try and show people that there are vulnerable individuals in our community and we need to protect them.”

Thiessen urges her fellow residents to observe government COVID-19 protocols to prevent others who are immunocompromised like Hallie from contracting the deadly virus.