Yes, I Tested Positive for COVID-19

by | Mar 30, 2020 | COVID-19 | 0 comments

Well the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) seems to be everywhere we turn. Living in NH, we are lucky that the pandemic has not overtaken our Portsmouth, NH community as it has in NYC, San Francisco and New Orleans. I’m personally thankful to have access to great medical care and acknowledge how lucky I am to have had access to early testing. We are all on heightened alert, scared, and trying to cope with this temporary new normal.

On Thursday evening, March 26th, I received a call from a NH Department of Health and Human Services (NH DHHS) public health official informing me that I tested positive and have COVID-19.

After waiting 8 days for my test results, believe it or not, it was good news. My husband Tim and I have been faithfully following the CDC guidelines and have been in-home quarantine. We have been listening to the state and federal government officials and I urge everyone to do the same. It’s clear, now more than ever, that these precautions are absolutely necessary to slow down the spread of the coronavirus and protect the people most vulnerable in our families and community.

The following is a chronology of my experience and will serve as an outreach to my family and friends who I have come in contact with since March 9th when I was exposed to the coronavirus at the COVE Co-working Space in Portsmouth, NH. Some of my friends and family are aware that my first exposure to the coronavirus and subsequent illness was in late January when I spent 3 weeks traveling in Europe, specifically Madrid, Spain, Venice, Rome and the Lombardi region of Italy. My first experience was gastrointestinal focused and resulted in two days of severe body aches and chills but no loss of smell or taste. The following chronicles, what we believe to be my second exposure here in the US.

Please remember each person may react differently to COVID-19 so please do not take the following as medical advice. Contact your family physician with your specific questions.

I was exposed on March 9th – (2nd Exposure to COVID-19) when I attended a 4hr meeting at the Cooperative Venture Workspace (COVE) on Maplewood Avenue in Portsmouth, NH.

Day 1 – Symptoms began 5 days post-exposure on March 14th – Body aches in center of the chest, upper back and legs – running nose, low-grade fever (2 degrees above normal) – I started taking Tylenol and Advil alternately – Same symptoms I experienced in Italy, but not as severe.

Day 4 – March 17th – I learned about my exposure to the coronavirus via an article in Seacoast Online – I contacted my primary care physician’s office and told them about the exposure – I was told to call 211 for information – It was a complete run around – I then called my primary care physicians office a second time and insisted that I be seen by a doctor. I successfully scheduled an appointment for the next day.

Day 5 – March 18th – Met with Dr. Noor Al Humaidhi for evaluation – I was tested for Influenza A/B in the office and learned on March 19th that I was negative – I was scheduled for my drive through COVID-19 test to take place the next day.

Day 6 – March 19th – I was tested at the Exeter Hospital drive-through clinic – I was still running a low-grade temperature, sneezing and light cough. The body aches continued.

Day 7 – March 20th – Nasal congestion begins but no postnasal drip, able to breathe through the nose, but sound congested – I couldn’t smell or taste anything – body aches dissipated, and I felt well enough to work out.

Day 8 — 11 – I continued to run a low-grade fever every couple of days, still, no taste or ability to smell – I finally received the test results after 8 days of waiting for a NH DHHS public health official to contact me with the details. My case was opened with the NH DHHS.

Day 12 – March 25th was the 3rd day of no fever; my symptoms improved and sense of smell and taste began to return, and it was at least 7days since my symptoms first appeared – so according to the NH DHHS representative and the CDC my home quarantine ended as they believe I am no longer shedding the coronavirus.

But according to the NH DHHS public health representative Tim (who experienced very mild symptoms) must stay in home quarantine until April 6th or at least 5 days with no fever and symptom improvement since his quarantine timeline starts on the last day of my symptoms. This extended quarantine for household members is due to the fact that Tim cannot be tested for COVID-19 due to the limited supplies, despite the fact he already had symptoms. Tim and I are currently being monitored by the NH State DHHS on a daily basis.

I was told on Saturday, March 28th that I would receive a letter from the NH DHHS via email that would state that I had COVID-19 and was no longer contagious. Tim learned on March 29th that he was also released from home quarantine and he would also receive a letter.

We now part of the herd. A growing number of COVID-19 survivors who have antibodies to the coronavirus.

My personal advice is to be persistent when it comes to your healthcare. Don’t stop until you get answers, even if you don’t like what you hear. Listen to the advice of healthcare professionals and tune everything else out. Read research reports from the FDA, CDC and reputable research institutions; follow evidence-based data recommendations and watch what is happening to the countries that have been infected before us. That is the evidence-based data.

And most importantly STAY HOME. Don’t try to bend the rules for your own purpose. Look at the generosity, love and kindness being shared by people who are staying home and sharing their lives via Instagram and social media. My heart goes out to everyone who is directly affected and for those who are living in fear. We will all get through this. Try to think of our healthcare providers and how you can save lives by staying home. This is not forever so try to embrace the time at home with your immediate family.

I plan to post more information on research articles and evidence-based data that may be helpful to understand this disease, it’s progression and treatment in additional blogs. For more details check out the CDC website here CDC guidelines.

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