(NEWS10) — A Capital Region man is now speaking out after being diagnosed with COVID-19. Both he and his two young sons tested positive for the virus. They are now recovering but sending an important message to heed the warnings.
“I’m one of those people that thinks something like this is never going to happen to them and then ya know, here I am,” he said.
On Monday, March 9th, the unidentified man said he traveled to New York City for work. He grabbed dinner with his colleagues then spent the night at a hotel and returned home early the next morning. “It [COVID-19] was definitely on my mind. I specifically remember using hand sanitizer when we were down there, and I remember washing my hands in the hotel room before we went out. So I took, what I thought, was every precaution that I could take,” he said.
On Wednesday, he said he started experiencing a runny nose and a dry cough, but he didn’t think much of it. He thought, perhaps, seasonal allergies, and went on with his normally busy schedule with his family. “Running around for sports-related practices, and some socializing myself that evening with friends celebrating a birthday,” he said.
On Thursday he said he noticed he started feeling more sluggish. Then early Friday morning, he was woken up to the symptoms kicking into high gear. “At about 4 a.m., I woke up shaking uncontrollably with two blankets on and came downstairs, took my temperature to find I had a 102.5 fever,” he said.
He did exactly what he was supposed to do. He called his primary doctor, answered a list of questions, and based on his answers, a test was set up that same day at a nearby hospital for three strains of the flu and COVID-19. “When we pulled into the parking area there were people dressed in protective clothing, Tyvex suits, and N95masks with goggles. It was something out of a bad horror film. They come over and knock on the vehicle, you step out of the vehicle and they swab both nostrils, pretty deep, feels like they’re scratching your brain and also swabbed the throat,” he said.
He and his family placed in immediate quarantine until they received results. “It was the only time in my life I was hoping I had the flu,” he said.
On Sunday morning, he received a call from a county health care workers who relayed the news. They remained on the phone for about an hour and a half retracing his steps to determine who needed to be contacted. “I was able to re-create my entire week based on the usage of the app that’s called LIFE-360. You can scroll back through the history in the app and recount everywhere I’ve been. So I used that technology to recreate down to the minute, basically, where I was the entire week. A single person doesn’t realize how much contact they have had with so many different people through the course of every day that goes by. The fact that I was diagnosed positive has resulted in a dozen people being quarantined, at least, if not more,” he said.
Later that Sunday evening, a crew showed up to their home in protective gear and tested the patient’s wife and two sons. “They had faced shields on, hospital gowns and booties and they came in and we set up at the kitchen table,” he said.
While his wife’s results came back negative, the two boys tested positive. “My one son’s symptoms is a low-grade fever of 99 and just a little bit achy. My other son has no fever at all. He just said he feels a little bit achy and off,” he said.
His wife, even though she tested negative, was told to remain quarantined in the home with them. “It’s been mentally exhausting,” she said, but her unconditional love and care for her boys never wavering.
“My biggest concern is the well-being of my wife and kids. It started with me, it’s my responsibly and my fault, but I’m not afraid or depressed. I’m of the opinion that if you’re faced with something, you just have to push through,” he said. Fortunately, he said none of them have underlying health conditions.
On day seven, of being symptomatic, he was still experiencing some fatigue and on again off again fevers of up to 103. “The cough seems to change and get a little deeper in the lungs as the days go by.”
“Last night (Tuesday) at 2 a.m., I woke up and my entire bed was soaked as if someone threw buckets of water over me. It was just from severe sweats from the fever,” he said. “I’m getting sick of the fever. It starts to wear on you after a while ya know,” he said.
He said they’ve been treating it as they would with the flu, Mucinex for the cough and using cough drops here and there. “I try to step out on the front stoop and get a little fresh air when I’m not having the chills and then just come inside and try to hydrate and talk to the kids,” he said.
He said the boys are watching movies and playing games. He said his one son is even doing his schoolwork from home on his laptop, following their remote learning protocols.
While remaining incredibly calm, given the situation he’s in, he’s now warning others not to wait to take this seriously until it impacts someone in your circle. “Take away from my story, the importance of following the social distancing recommendations. You’re not invincible. It’s only a matter of time before you know somebody whose tested positive for this, at the rate it’s spreading now,” he said.
“Just the littlest things, the kids get together to go play baseball and they don’t think about it. You touch a baseball, you throw it to another kid then they’re all handling it and I’m not saying it’s definite, but the virus could be on the baseball, could be on the bat that they share, the helmet. Something as innocent as that could be transmitting the virus amongst the kids,” he said. “Those kids are going home from spending time with friends and potentially could be bringing the virus back into the home to their parents or grandparents,” he said.
Once all of their symptoms dissipate, he said they will all be tested again at least two more times to make sure it’s entirely out of their systems. “You have the one negative, then they wait 24 or 48 hours then they test you again. If you test negative again then you’re cleared,” he said.
He adds none of his colleagues on his trip became ill.