Vt. woman with compromised immune system urges others to take precautions

Published: Mar. 13, 2020 at 5:06 PM EDT
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Some Vermonters are already making the decision to stay in their homes because they are at higher risk of getting the virus, and they want you to know how your actions could help them. Our Cat Viglienzoni spoke with a Williston woman who has made the decision to self-isolate.

Bridget Fischer could only do this interview by FaceTime. The 28-year-old from Williston is in self-isolation because of the coronavirus. "Being immuno-suppressed, it is a daily concern for me no matter what the climate is outside," Fischer said.

She's had liver disease since she was two, and had a transplant six years ago. "The combination of those two things has put me on three or four types of immuno-suppressants," Fischer said.

The dance teacher made the decision to stop hosting West Coast Swing classes until the virus passes. She says the decision to stop participating in her passion wasn't easy, but it was necessary. And doctors say it's a smart move for people in her situation.

"I think it's time to take some measures to keep yourself safe. I would avoid unnecessary public gatherings," said Dr. Tim Lahey, an infectious diseases clinician at the University of Vermont Medical Center.

He says that people with pre-existing health conditions, and the elderly, should consider which outings are necessary. "I think it's a good time to decide -- do I need to go to that church picnic? Should I really have that party this week and maybe stay closer to home?" Lahey said.

Fischer says it's encouraging to see the message getting out -- that even if people aren't high-risk, efforts like washing your hands and staying home if you're sick could help protect people like her by stopping the virus's spread.

"You don't know who's dealing with hidden illness," Fischer said. "You never know what someone's situation is."