An Inside Look at how COVID-19 is Affecting our Community

An+Inside+Look+at+how+COVID-19+is+Affecting+our+Community

Russell Tate

Bethany Campbell, Section Editor

The past eight months have been filled with uncertainties as we navigate our new way of living during a global pandemic. The world was shut down for three months, but it does not seem like there is an end in sight just yet as we head into flu season. With new COVID cases rising across the U.S., it is crucial to be aware of the symptoms, effects, and precautions you should take to do your part in flattening the curve.

Fellow HACC student Jess Fairbanks, 30, tested positive for COVID-19 in mid-Sept. I had the opportunity to interview Jess via Zoom to discuss her experience with COVID-19.
It is important to note that COVID-19 can affect individuals of all demographics.

What were the symptoms you experienced that resulted in getting tested?

“I did not think I had it at first. I never had a fever, but I was exhausted headaches that lasted a few days and a sore throat. Because I work as an EMT, I decided to get tested. I immediately started quarantining the day I got tested.”

How was the testing process?

My doctor’s office came in and they put what looked like a cotton swab in both of my nostrils for 15 seconds each, put it in a tube and labeled it. My doctor put it in as a STAT, meaning I needed it back right away. There are different places in our area that you get a rapid test if you are a health care worker. I was notified the next day that I tested positive.

As an essential worker, do you think you were exposed through work?

I don’t know. I wear an N95 on every call unless someone had it, and they didn’t know they had it, or they were a carrier and I just got it. My fiancé and I went to a sale and maybe the cold weather gave me an infection and I developed COVID.

How did it affect your daily routine after testing positive?

“From the day that I went to get tested I had to quarantine for 14 days, so did my fiancé. Then everybody that I worked with had to get tested, two of eight of my co-workers tested positive. I got tested on a Wednesday, and by Friday I was full out sick. I did not have any fevers, but I was nauseous, vomiting, I couldn’t get up off the couch, my body hurt so bad. I did not have any {trouble breathing, but my fiancé had trouble breathing and a high fever, he ended up in the E.R. [emergency room]. We both live in the same house, and it affected us both completely different.”

Do either of you have a preexisting condition that could have made it worse?

We are both extremely healthy people. My E.R. [emergency room] doctor and family doctor told us that we are young and healthy, and it did not hit us hard like some people. I am 30 and my fiancé is 35.

How long did the symptoms last?

“I still cannot taste or smell, they said that could last three to four weeks. I am back to and after working a full week my body is exhausted. Symptoms lasted for about 10 out of the 14 days. I tested Sept. 15 and my fiancé tested Sept. 17. They told him he did not have to get tested unless he started having symptoms, but he still would have had to quarantine regardless.”

Did doctors recommend anything to help with your symptoms?

They told us to have a lot of fluids, so we did not get dehydrated. They said if we would have got dehydrated it would have been worse. Lots of rest and Tylenol for headaches. They reached out to use every other day to make sure we were doing OK.

How was it as an essential worker knowing you were at a higher risk to be exposed?

“Somebody has to do it. I would rather do it than some of my older co-workers. I thought we were in the down shrink of it, so I thought we would be OK, but we still go it.”

How did life as an essential work change after the stay at home order took place?

My life changed, I literally worked and went home, limited time at the grocery store. Our call volume dropped by about 300 calls per month. People did not want to go to the hospital, but the people that were calling, they were extremely sick. We are just now getting our call volume back up.  We have to wear a N95 on every call. When they call in, they are asked if they have been exposed or are positive. If there is a chance, they are positive or were exposed we have to gown up, goggles and face shields.

What did you learn through this process that could help others?

I always feel like people think it is not going to affect them. And in the beginning, I was like I’m young, it’s not going to affect me, I’m doing what I need to. I followed all the rules, but I still got it. So, people need to take this seriously. I know people want to get back to normal and see their families for holidays, you just must do it safely.

Any additional comments/information you would like to share?

I just wanted to get my voice out about COVID. It is not something I expected. I take care of people almost every day, but when it affects you and your family it is completely different. I think it is serious and some people do not take it seriously. We need to listen to the professionals. I do not care if you are Republican, Democratic, Green Party or Independent, they get paid with their medical degree to research COVID. I think people feel that if it did not happen to them it does not concern them, but it can happen to anybody at any time.

 

If you are experiencing any symptoms take necessary precautions to quarantine and get tested.
Please visit these sites for more information:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html; https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019; https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx