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Calgary apparel maker that has now made PPE in intensive care unit with COVID-19

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Adrian Bussoli, president of Alberta Garment Manufacturing, was placed into a medically induced coma and placed on a ventilator after catching the coronavirus

Author of the article:

Brodie Thomas

Release date:

April 21, 2021 • • 4 hours ago • • 3 minutes read • • 15 comments Adrian Bussoli, president and co-owner of Alberta Garment Manufacturing, was admitted to intensive care after testing positive for COVID-19. Photo courtesy Curtis Round

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April 14th was supposed to be the day when 68-year-old Adrian Bussoli received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Instead, it was the day he was tested for the virus.

The next day, the small business owner and active Calgary volunteer was in a medically-induced coma in intensive care, breathing on a ventilator.

Adrian had to cancel his vaccination appointment on April 14th as he was seen as a close contact for another case. His business partner at Alberta Garment Manufacturing caught the virus in early April, and Adrian immediately began self-isolating as a precaution.

“My dad is the book type,” said Adrian’s son Michael Bussoli.

At first he felt good and a first test was negative. But while isolating himself, Adrian developed a cough that he brought on to allergies. Finally, he signed up for a second test.

On April 15, when his second test was positive, his family convinced him to go to the hospital. He had difficulty breathing and sleeping for several days.

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“(The family) held a conference call at 8:45 am and we finally convinced him to leave,” his son said.

“When he listened to his voice, he sounded like he was in such a fog. He didn’t answer quickly. He wasn’t on the ball. He had a super soft, quiet voice. And for anyone who knows my father, he’s a sociable guy. “

Adrian was admitted to the hospital with an “incredibly low” oxygen level of 56 percent, according to his son.

“At around 3:30 or 4:00 am he sent us a message that said, ‘I’m going to the intensive care unit and I’ll see you in a week. ‘”

Adrian has since been intubated and is in a medically induced coma. The staff told the family that after a week he had improved a bit and that his lungs were now doing 40 percent of the breathing work. When he was first intubated, the ventilator did all the work.

Michael said he and his siblings are now trying to hold their father’s business on hold while he battles the virus.

When he logged into his father’s business email, Michael saw that he had reached out to stakeholders to alert them of his positive test. Employees have been instructed to stay home for their own safety.

For years, the company has had much of its business in the oil and gas industry. Michael said the 2014 downturn weighed heavily on his father’s business, but he turned to PSA in 2020.

Adrian Bussoli can be seen in this file photo of 2012 in the factory room of the Annual General Meeting. Adrian Bussoli can be seen in this file photo of 2012 in the factory room of the Annual General Meeting. Photo by Leah Hennel /.Calgary Herald

“They started making masks and dresses,” said Michael. “They made tens of thousands each for private companies and the military.”

Michael said his father expanded the business over the past year and hired new employees to meet demand. The company had about 10 employees and more work went to contractors.

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He said while it was good to see a new life in business, concerns about the virus were always on the back of his mind and his siblings, despite his father’s caution for himself and the employees.

“They took the precautions so seriously,” he said. “You have taken every precaution.”

Adrian has been active in community and sports groups for years. As the former president of the Calgary Italian Club (now the Calgary Italian Cultural Center), he pioneered the now famous Ferrari raffles that allowed the club to repay its mortgage in 1986.

Adrian’s friend Martin Buting said that since meeting through the Rotary Club of Calgary North, he’d watched Adrian show up to lend a hand.

“He’s done everything from walking on the street, picking up trash, and coordinating our big fundraising drives,” said Bunting.

“He was a builder. He’s one of those people with a small business who really gave back to society. “

Bunting said his wife calls Adrian’s wife, Sue, daily to check on her and make sure she is holding up while isolating herself. Sue was able to get her first dose of the vaccine but is still unemployed from her own job.

Michael said he was frustrated that it took his father four days to get a test. Adrian said Adrian refused to go to the hospital until he knew he had the virus.

Right now, the family is relying on the “amazing” nurses and hospital staff to provide updates as they cannot visit his bed.

A GoFundMe was set up to help Adrian and Sue with the spending. People who recover from a ventilator can recover for months.

brthomas@postmedia.com

Twitter: @brodie_thomas

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