OTTAWA -- An eastern Ontario health care worker who tested positive for COVID-19 is spreading awareness about the virus.

Amanda Antoine works at the Verona Medical Clinic near Kingston.  Antoine says on March 19 she noticed symptoms of the novel coronavirus.

“I came down with a scratchy throat, sore chest - tight, feeling very unwell and then right from there it just progressed, it got quickly worse,” said Antoine.

The medical assistant has remained in isolation at home since testing positive for novel coronavirus. Antoine says the diagnosis has been devastating - at one point she was scared for her life.

“I thought I’m going to die, to be honest,” Antoine said during an interview on CTV News at Noon.

“That was my biggest fear, I’ve got kids, I’ve got a husband.”

Antoine says she decided to share her diagnosis to let people know more about the virus and how it spreads.

On March 25, Antoine posted a message about her positive COVID-19 test on the Verona Medical Clinic Facebook page.

“Hello everyone, Amanda here! I am one that tested positive for COVID-19. This is a very scary and serious infection and am letting you know my personal information only to spread awareness and importance of social distancing and self-isolating at these times,” Antoine wrote.

“We have to act fast. I was diligent about washing my hands, cleaning the clinic, cleaning my house and using sanitizer when out and about. I was in contact with a positive case but wasn’t aware for a few days after.”

Antoine says she was practicing physical distancing and proper hand washing prior to the positive test.

She added in her post that because the clinic was switching to virtual appointments, she does not believe she was not in contact with patients while sick. 

“I need to spread awareness, it is out there, everyone needs to be doing their part – staying home if they can,” said Antoine on Monday.

The clinic has been fully closed since Wednesday.

Dr. Sabra Gibbens is the clinic’s family physician. She says having Antoine speak publically with her diagnosis has put the community at ease.

“She is so well known and so well loved and respected in the community that when people knew it was her, everything switched,” she said.

Dr. Gibbens says staff at the clinic was already taking part in additional safety practices prior to the diagnosis.

Patients were being screened prior to entering the clinic and the number of patients inside the clinic was limited. Dr. Gibbens says the clinic was in the process of changing all appointments to virtual ones at the time of Antoine’s positive diagnosis.

Dr. Gibbens expects the clinic to remain closed for two more weeks. She says staff will continue with virtual appointments when it re-opens.