LUNENBURG, N.S. -- Duncan Crowdis is sharing his experience after testing positive for COVID-19 to encourage all travellers to self-isolate immediately upon returning to Canada.

“I just want to make sure that people understand that when you come back, self-isolation is self-isolation. It’s not dropping into the post office…or the grocery store,” says Crowdis.

“If we had done that, I’m sure hundreds of people around here may well have been infected because of it.”

The 67-year-old retiree and his wife Pam both tested positive for COVID-19 this past weekend, after returning from a convention in Texas last week.

The pair had left for the trip on March 8, but realized soon after arriving that the global situation with COVID-19 was becoming increasingly serious.

They cut their trip short to get home to the Lunenburg, N.S., area as soon as possible.

The couple took three flights to get back to Halifax from San Antonio, taking as many precautions as they could while they were in transit.

“We were very conscious about wiping down everything,” Crowdis says. “Every plane we got on, we wiped everything we could. Anytime we were in an airport and seated, we wiped everything we could.”

The couple called friends back in Lunenburg before their return trip, asking them to drop groceries and other necessities off at their home so they wouldn’t have to stop anywhere after arriving.

They landed at Halifax Stanfield International Airport the evening of March 15.

“We drove straight home, and we haven’t been in physical contact with anyone since,” Crowdis says.

He started experiencing symptoms last Wednesday. Normally active and healthy, he says it started with what he describes as “a little cough” that he “didn’t think too much of.”

But he says the next day he developed a fever and was aching all over.

On Friday, Crowdis called Nova Scotia’s 811 line and was instructed to go to the COVID-19 assessment centre in nearby Bridgewater, N.S.

His swab was taken Saturday morning and Crowdis had the results the next afternoon.

The test confirmed he had COVID-19.

After that, he says a public health caseworker called Sunday to ask for his wife to be tested as well.

Pam, too, tested positive for COVID-19.

“We don’t know if she got it from me, or if she picked it up at the same place I did,” he says. “At this stage she’s still not showing any symptoms, a bit of a cold, nothing more than that, a normal temperature.”

Crowdis says he can’t commend the public health system enough.

“We have two different public health nurses that … talk to us every day, they phone us up to see how things are going and whether we need anything,” he says. “I can’t think of any situation where we could feel more supported than we are in the system right now.”

Crowdis wrote a post on Facebook about his experience Monday, chastising travellers who aren’t taking the government’s order to self-isolate seriously.

“I thought if I could put a name to it, that a lot of the people … would see that this is real, and it’s happening to someone I know.”

“It is personal, it is real, and the faster that we can get this thing calmed down, the better,” he says. 

Crowdis says his body is still fighting the virus and he’s been experiencing a low-grade fever. But he says he feels like he’s on the road to recovery.

He and his wife will stay in quarantine at home for the full 14 days required. After that, they’ll consult with public health officials on what they should do, although the couple plans to maintain physical distance and stay at home on their rural property unless it’s necessary to leave.

He’s glad to hear the federal government is implementing mandatory 14-day quarantines for all travellers returning to Canada as of midnight.