OPINION: My youngest is isolating and now we’re all in living in a grey area

Ruth Davies and her family on a lockdown family walk. Picture: Ruth Davies

Ruth Davies and her family on a lockdown family walk. Picture: Ruth Davies - Credit: Archant

Parenting columnist Ruth Davies is looking for answers

Well it had to happen at some point I suppose. We have our youngest family member in isolation having come into contact with a confirmed Covid-19 case at his nursery. The baby is well and truly in lockdown stations yet with no symptoms himself we have no idea if he is carrying it and potentially passing it to us in an asymptomatic capacity or if he’s absolutely fine.

We can’t have a test without him displaying signs so until (and if) he does, we just sit it out and play the game by the rules as we have been told to.

It’s pretty easy to understand the rules as it goes yet they still don’t seem to make any sense to me He’s come into contact meaning it’s 14 days of him not even leaving the house for a walk but as his status of “unknown” and “unsuspected” continues, the rest of my household are OK, encouraged actually, to go about our normal life.

The big children are still to attend school and without their baby brother having the symptoms and or a positive diagnosis they are, in fact, expected to do so. I could, if the authorities so wished, be fined for keeping them at home when there is no legal reason for them to be away from their education establishment. My husband like-wise.

As a teacher, working from home normally is not an option so he and each of the older children are going off every day into their bubbles of around 30-35. Separately.

That’s mixing with, between them, over 100 people.

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Now this is all well and good as long as their baby brother doesn’t develop symptoms and later on is diagnosed with Covid at which point we will all have to self-isolate as a household together. But… What if on day 13 he comes down with it and for nearly two weeks my family have been mixing in their bubbles freely only to have inadvertently also been exposed and infected others as they were unknowingly carrying the virus? They will have mixed with 100 plus people by then. If each of those 100 plus people gets it and infects the same number of people again that’s over 3,000 new cases. And if those 3,000 new cases goes on to… Well, you get my perpetuating drift!

The only logical thing to me would be to say the rules are that if one person is exposed then the whole household isolates. However, if you won’t get paid because you don’t have a legitimate reason for isolating or you may accrue a council fine for keeping your children away from school unnecessarily then what can you do other than follow the rules as they are? I’m not saying I have the answers here because I absolutely don’t, (what could possibly be the best course of action?) but surely everyone isolates or what’s the point in any of us doing so?

I, of course, am also allowed to go about my usual “within lockdown rules” routine and could still see my “in the bubble” mum (I won’t because I don’t want her to be infected and realise we have a higher risk of passing it on), go to the supermarket (I probably will have to at some point when the husband comes home and I can be relieved from house arrest with the little one) and in theory I could still go to (my very important – high risk pregnancy) midwife appointments. Only… Actually, I can’t do that as I can’t take the baby (not allowed out the house remember) and I can’t leave him with anyone either!

For me this means I won’t have been seen for 12 weeks by the time I next get to see a medical professional. This is during a pregnancy which I was told should see me having extra appointments at 24 and 28 weeks (as well as the usual 28 week check) because I have a low hormone level which could see me go into premature labour. These extra appointments have already been cancelled due to Covid measures at the hospital (not entirely sure why when previously our Norfolk numbers have been low and our local hospital not in any way overrun but there we are) and now I am having to miss my routine check too. It’s a little bit worrying to say the least.

My big two are, thankfully and in some form of luck on our side, able to walk to school and home together alone. It’s not ideal but with only one zebra crossed road to contend with I’m happy for them to do that rather than break the rules and pick them up. School have suggested for anyone in the same position as me with older children at school who are not able to walk alone they ask a friend to take them in – I’m not sure how that fits in with the lockdown rules, everything seems a bit grey don’t you think?!

Oh what a mine field and a pickle. Does anyone have the answers?

Ruth Davies has a parenting blog at www.rocknrollerbaby.co.uk