Celiac woman says she hasn’t eaten in 40 hours while in quarantine hotel in Toronto


An Edmonton woman with extreme celiac disease says she hasn’t eaten for at least 40 hours because she wasn’t given gluten-free food at a quarantine hotel in Toronto.

Janet Game said she last ate around 4:30 a.m. Eastern Time on Saturday, December 4, on a flight from Ethiopia.

Janet and her husband Maku Game arrived in Toronto at 7:30 a.m. on December 4 and were ordered to self-quarantine until they received a negative COVID-19 test because Maku was in South Africa 13 days earlier, where the Omicron variant of the coronavirus had spread.

As of November 30, Canada has required those who traveled to South Africa within 14 days to remain in a designated quarantine facility while they await the results of an arrival test, even if they are completely vaccinated.

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Maku received three doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and Janet received two.

Maku said they arrived at the Hilton for quarantine around 4:30 p.m. on December 4, but did not have dinner that night.

The next morning, they also did not receive a meal. It wasn’t until lunchtime on December 5th that she said they had had their first meal – a serving of crispy chicken that wasn’t gluten free.

A one-serving meal Janet and Maku Game received at the quarantine hotel. Maku Game Janet has stated that she suffers from severe celiac disease and her food cannot even be contaminated with gluten. If she eats gluten, she will be in great pain and have diarrhea, she said.

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“I have to pay attention.”

Maku said they informed the hotel of the dietary restriction upon arrival.

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They said there is only one point of contact at the hotel, Red Cross Canada, and there is no one at the front desk.

They tried to call the Canada Red Cross at least five times throughout December 5 and said they were on hold for up to an hour before making contact with anyone.

When they were finally able to reach a representative, they took their food request, but at lunchtime they again received a serving of a meal that was not gluten-free.

A meal that Maku and Janet Game received that was not gluten free. Maku Game Janet drank sugar water to keep her energy up as she has to deal with a broken leg that she injured in Africa, she said.

Canadian Red Cross spokesperson Kirsten Long said the organization was looking into the issue and “supporting returning travelers with immediate and emerging needs upon arrival, and working fastest. possible to help meet their unique needs “.

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Global News has contacted Public Safety Canada and Global Affairs Canada, but did not receive a response in time for publication.

“I just want to come home, I haven’t eaten anything,” Janet told Global News. “I am extremely tired and extremely exhausted.”

Games are not allowed to leave their rooms or receive food orders, such as from Uber Eats or their relatives who live nearby.

“It’s so scary,” Janet said of the hotel’s atmosphere. “You can’t see anyone. They put plastic wall to wall.

“It’s like a sci-fi world here. … They are going too far.

They tested negative for COVID-19 after making an effort to have it sped up by the lab, but are still waiting for public health to give them the green light so they can board a flight back to Edmonton, where they lived for 20 years.

They hope to catch a plane there on Monday morning.

“It’s terrible,” Maku said. “We respect public health measures, but this treatment should not take place in Canada. Not even elsewhere. We say in Canada – this kind of treatment shouldn’t be happening anywhere.

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“It is very shameful.”

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