Pelham Panthers owner Tim Toffolo, far right. BILL POTRECZ

Pelham Panthers owner warns, “this is not the flu”

Pelham Panthers owner Tim Toffolo has been a strong proponent of taking as many precautions as possible in the battle with the COVID-19 virus.

The Panthers ran summer skates in 2020 and then went into training camp and exhibition scrimmages last fall without any notable issues. The Panthers wore masks on and off the ice during games and practices and were able get on the ice on 138 occasions.

Toffolo, who hasn’t been at the Pelham Meridian Community Centre since the current lockdown commenced earlier this month, tested positive for the virus last week.

“I don’t know,” Toffolo said, when asked if he has any idea how he contracted the virus.

“It could be as simple as a grocery store. I’ve been really careful. I’m masked all the time. I guess that’s some of the things we’re never going to know about it.”

Toffolo thinks it’s one of the new variant strains.

“I have some family members who are nurses and they’ve been telling me unless you’re double masked it doesn’t matter. You might think you’re protected but you need to be double masked.”

Toffolo’s symptoms began with a headache and within hours he was experiencing everything from a fever, cold sweats, diarrhea, body aches and a cough.

“You don’t seem to get everything all at once,” said Toffolo, a 54-year-old Port Dalhousie resident. “I’ve had body aches — my legs are just killing me — and then shortness of breath. It seems like you’ll go for an hour and things are subsiding and you think things are breaking and then you get hit with the hardest bout of something else.”

Toffolo called Telehealth, who advised him to get to a hospital. After getting checked out with blood work and an electrocardiogram, Toffolo was given a COVID test which came back positive the next day.

I think the biggest issue is that there are too many people who just don’t get what this is

“I’ve called everybody I was even remotely in contact with and that’s very remote. All those people are all fine.”

Toffolo, who has registered for a vaccination and is waiting for a date for his first shot, is quarantining and is being helped by family members. He is slated to end his quarantine Sunday, 10 days after his first symptom.

Toffolo said the whole experience has been an eye-opener.

“I think the biggest issue is that there are too many people who just don’t get what this is,” he said. “I hear from so many people it’s just the flu. I’ve had the flu, and this is not the flu.”

Toffolo fears for Niagara residents after recent protests in St. Catharines and Niagara Falls.

“You see people protesting and I get it, people have the right to protest and to have their opinions, but what right do people have to gather in large groups with no masks and cause more spread? In the end, no one is going to tell me a thousand people gathered once and then again and no one is getting infected? It’s just not the case.”


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