James Jepson estimates he hasn’t left his apartment more than three times a week since the COVID-19 outbreak began (file)

B.C. heart surgery patient rarely leaves home

James Jepson is especially vulnerable to the novel coronavirus

Recovering heart surgery patient James Jepson doesn’t get out much these days.

His physiotherapy sessions have been cancelled and so has his therapy group meeting, both as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

His medications are delivered.

Jepson, a Langley City resident who underwent quadruple bypass surgery in December, estimates he’s been outside his apartment no more than three times a week since the COVID-19 virus turned up in B.C.

“I go out when I need to,” he told the Langley Advance Times.

Because of his surgery, doctors have told Jepson he is especially vulnerable to the virus, which has, as of Saturday, sickened nearly 900 people in B.C. and killed 17.

He won’t be able to return to work until June.

READ ALSO: B.C. COVID-19 cases rise 92 to 884, one more death, 81 in care

Usually when Jepson goes out, it’s for a walk with a relative who lives in the same building, along a nearby path where few people take a stroll.

Occasionally, he has to make a run to a grocery store, where he is careful to keep the minimum two-metre “social distancing” space from strangers.

“I keep my hands in my pocket, and every chance I can, I wash my hands,” Jepson related.

An online, virtual, version of his therapy group is being set up, and meetings could resume next week.

He said his physical recovery is going well.

“I’m doing pretty darn good,” Jepson described.

“Everything is healing pretty nicely.”

READ MORE: VIDEO: heart surgery patient facing loss of home thanks supporters

Jepson was the object of a GoFundMe campaign to help him pay his rent while he was recovering from his operation.

While the campaign fell somewhat short of its target, it raised enough money for him to get by until he can find less expensive accommodation.

Jepson isn’t sure if he qualifies for the $500-a-month provincial government rent assistance program during the coronavirus outbreak, but was planning to look into it.

Jepson, 49, is a brain injury survivor who suffered a violent assault 25 years ago that left him with memory issues and PTSD and qualified him for financial disability assistance.

He worked hard to recover, trained for work as a security guard, and got off disability.



dan.ferguson@langleyadvancetimes.com

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