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Unable to leave their home, this is how one couple is dealing with life in quarantine

Posted at 3:52 PM, Apr 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-13 15:52:31-04

Practicing social distancing has been a difficult adjustment for people around the world. But those in self-quarantine, meaning those who may have been exposed to COVID-19, aren't supposed to leave their house at all.

That was the reality for Bree Steffen and Sean Harris after returning from their Europe vacation. They were overseas when the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. The couple was advised to self-quarantine for two weeks once they returned.

The couple said the hardest thing for them was being unable to get out and go for a walk.

Steffen and Harris were advised by the CDC to do daily temperature checks, so they relyed on a friend to purchase a thermometer for them and also to bring food and necessities.

In addition to Netflix, they got through the long days with activities they haven't done since childhood, like playing Mancala and doing puzzles. They did virtual workouts and spent many hours chatting with loved ones through video calls.

"I think I've used FaceTime more in the last two weeks than I ever have in my life!" said Harris.

While all of this helped, the couple craved something else while stuck inside their apartment.

"We're not able to have our dog right now, because since we can't leave our apartment," Steffen explained. "We can't take him out on walks."

So, they decided to foster a cat from the San Diego Humane Society, where Steffen works.

"So, she's not stuck in the shelter while we're stuck at home," Harris said. "Might as well be stuck here with us and get ridiculous amounts of belly rubs, which she really likes."

Sylvia was the perfect match, immediately settling into her new foster home.

"It gave us another living thing to focus on, and something to cuddle whenever we were stressed out," said Steffen said.

Gary Weitzman, president of the San Diego Humane Society, is grateful for all the people who've stepped up to foster during this crisis. He says both the humans and animals benefit.

"It's that companionship we crave so much," Weitzman said. "This is the time. We're not getting it through three-dimensional people; we're getting it through two-dimensions on the internet."

He says his own dog, Betty, is his emotional salvation, especially during this uncertain time.

"Don't go through this alone; get a dog or a cat or a rabbit or a guinea pig or a hamster," Weitzman reccomended. "To go through this worldwide pandemic together."

And through Sylvia, the quarantined couple also gained new human connections.

"Sylvia was adopted, and we found out her new parents live a few blocks from us," said Steffen.

When life gets back to normal, they all plan to meet in the three-dimensional world.

Global Coronavirus Tracker:

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Data from The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.