Quebec woman tests positive for COVID-19 a week after her husband: 'What am I going to do?'

You’d think being stuck in a hospital in Japan and having just tested positive for COVID-19, Manon Trudel might have lost her sense of humour.

Thankfully, she hasn’t.

When I reached out Tuesday and asked if she’d be able to do a quick interview, she declined with a joke.

“You know, I’m not interested in being a star, and no one ever talks about how much I’m going to be paid,” Trudel said.

As a reporter, you tend to be disappointed when someone says they can’t talk to you, but in this case, the humour was more important than the interview.

Holding onto her smile is going to be important, considering the road ahead.

I’ve been checking in with Trudel regularly over the last several days as part of our coverage for Global National. She’s sent me dozens of photographs documenting her experience.

Trudel and her husband, Julien Bergeron, were on the Diamond Princess cruise ship when it was quarantined Feb. 3 in Yokohama, Japan. The couple spent almost every hour for 17 days in their windowless cabin.

When the quarantine started, there were about 3,700 passengers and crew. As of Feb. 26, there were 691 cases of COVID-19 among them.

Bergeron tested positive last week, while Trudel’s results only came back today.

Trudel didn’t test positive herself until a week after her husband, but she said there was no way she was going to be separated from him.

“What am I going to do?” she told me last week. “I’m not going to leave him behind in Japan. It’s impossible.”

The couple left the ship Feb. 20 through what looked like a scene out of a science fiction movie.

They were moved to a hospital about six hours away. At first, they were in the same building, with Trudel on the fourth floor and Bergeron on the fifth. But after his condition worsened, he was moved to a different facility.

Communication has been difficult, with every conversation with doctors or nurses carried out through a translation app on an iPad.

Trudel shared several pictures of messages between herself and health professionals. Some of them were painful to read.

“Je suis triste,” one of them reads, which means, “I am sad.”

Another message shows the difficulty in communicating. The app is far from perfect and it’s hard to understand what the message might have meant.

I met the couple’s son last week for an interview, and checked in with him after his mother’s positive test.

Ariel Cavanaugh-Trudel says he’s saddened by what his parents are going through, and that his mother is trying to stay strong for him. He says she doesn’t want to worry her sons.

To make matters worse, he and his girlfriend are expecting their second child next month. He’s hoping his parents are home to greet their new grandchild.

It’s clear she’s going through a lot right now, but Trudel sent several pictures in which she’s smiling.

I hope she keeps it up.


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