VICTORIA -- Saanich North and the Islands MLA and interim B.C. Green Party leader Adam Olsen is sharing his experience of COVID-19 after his mother’s partner tested positive for COVID-19, and she became a presumptive case.

Olsen says that his mother’s partner, Tex, began to feel unwell after returning to Victoria from Toronto two weeks ago. He later tested positive for COVID-19, and Olsen’s mother, Sylvia Olsen, was then considered a presumptive case.

“The novel coronavirus has disrupted every part of our lives,” Olsen said on his website. “It’s not just a community state of emergency, it’s global.

“Up until they received their diagnosis a couple of days ago, for our family COVID-19 was a disease that was affecting other people.”

Olsen says that the close brush with the novel coronavirus has prompted him to encourage the community to follow the advice of provincial health officials by social distancing and remaining in self-isolation as much as possible.

“As my mom said when she and Tex were telling their grandkids on a video conference that their grandparents have COVID-19, if they had not taken those orders seriously nearly two weeks ago then they would have been responsible for spreading this awful disease to their entire family,” he said.

Olsen says that he is sharing his family’s story to help encourage all British Columbians to take the COVID-19 pandemic seriously, and to protect the health of everyone in the community.

“It is a surreal time for our family and all British Columbians,” he said. “We are proud of our freedom and liberty that in the past few weeks have been dramatically restricted. Everything that once seemed reliable is now in question. The emerging public health emergency, is also a growing economic emergency. Our entire society and way of life has been turned upside down.

“I’m sharing this story about Tex and my mom because COVID-19 is real. It is a devastating disease and it must be taken seriously.”

Olsen’s plea for British Columbians to abide by provincial health authority orders echoes requests made by hundreds of doctors across Vancouver Island.

According to the Ministry of Health, all residents should remain in their homes unless they need to make essential trips, like to the grocery store or to medical appointments.

“Please listen to the updates and follow all the recommendations as if you have no other option,” said Olsen.

“Our government does not want to have to force further restrictions and we are hoping for broad social acceptance.”

In the meantime, Olsen said that his mother and her partner are “not getting much worse, however they are also not getting much better either.”

“Our family appreciates you keeping them in your thoughts and prayers just as we are keeping all the people who are struggling with COVID-19 in our thoughts and prayers,” he said.