Mark Clairmont | MuskokaTODAY.com
GRAVENHURST — Bob Jocque’s “OK” and doing fine — thank you very much for asking.
Not bad for a guy who tested positive for COVID a month ago.
And who is just two weeks out of quarantine.
The 57-year-old fast-food worker is out and about again after the lockdown and happy to be back on the job serving burgers and fries at McDonald’s.
That’s where he takes cash usually starting at sunrise from customers in the drive-thru with his good hand and dishing out Big Macs at the take-out window with his injured hand — which he nearly lost years ago in an accident before it was re-attached.
And it’s where just four weeks ago he first discovered he may have contracted the corona virus.
It was a tough time for him.
His beloved boss Chris Lewis had just died days before.
“He was a great guy.”
Lewis had emailed Jocque and other workers a letter only days before he manager’s own tragic death, which staff could produce for police if stopped while going to work during new stay-at-home orders in mid-January.
Jocque didn’t need to use the letter, which he said this week he’s held on to for safe-keeping and as a fond memory of working with Lewis.
But he did need his supervisor’s help with his own health and COVID.
At work he began to feel unwell.
“Headache and weakness.”
Just a general ill chill.
So the supervisor told him to phone Telehealth Ontario for an initial screening.
That was the easy — if uneasy — part.
Yes, they said he sounded like he had COVID symptoms and he was told he should immediately get tested.
Off the phone and within hours Jocque said he was booked in the next day in Bracebridge at South Muskoka Memorial Hospital where there’s a provincial Assessment Centre.
But it was after that quick test — when he got the call the next day — that he received the startling news that shocked him.
“I was stunned,” he told MuskokaTODAY.com, when he opened the email from the Ministry of Health and read “I had tested positive.”
It was a relatively mild case by COVID standards.
But it meant immediate lockdown — a personal order from the government to stay-at-home for 14 days.
He said he doesn’t know how he got it. But later that week the health unit reported two Gravenhurst cases — one a male that was community acquired and the other a female that was obtained through close contact.
Two weeks after a near-harrowing experience he’s happy, healthy and “feeling better” glad to be walking the main street again and talking to friends.
And he’s back at work, where he thinks they may have closed down overnight for a clean-up after he told them of his test result.
A co-worker also previously tested positive before Christmas.
A gentle, genial Gravenhurst-born guy, Jocque is not alone in his hometown.
He is one of 47 people from the Gateway to Muskoka who has tested positive.
For now he’s just happy to be healthy again — and able to give a thumbs up to life.
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