What’s on the Horizon for Public Health?

Those That Have and Those That Will

There is saying among pilots:  There are those who have landed with the gear up, and those who are going to.   My confession to you is I landed with my gear up.  I had COVID-19!  Normally I write these articles with the intention of sharing some information about a topic that touches some aspect of our lives.  Today, however, it’s going to be about my personal story with COVID.  Maybe you’ll be able to relate, or at least learn from my experience.

It was a dark and stormy night…..no not that!  I learned about the middle of April my friend tested positive for COVID-19.  Within a couple days after our time together, she called to say she tested positive for COVID-19.  I had two thoughts:  Oh No! I hope she doesn’t get too sick; and, I’ll be fine as I’m fully vaccinated and had my first booster. I tested negative, twice. Two negative tests, good to go right?  

I went about my normal activities and visited with friends and family.  Then I started to get a “cold;” bit of a runny nose, lots of sneezing and a stuffy head, oh and my ears were plugged.  Still, I was not thinking COVID-19.  I had a cold.  But when I saw the remaining COVID-19 test on the counter, I decided to confirm to myself that what I had was a simple cold.  I was surprised to see a bright pink line on the test.  Positive!  

Fortunately, I was fully vaccinated and boosted. (I could have been hospitalized or in intensive care.)  I notified the people whom I potentially exposed.  I stayed home, rested and drank plenty of fluids.  You know, the same things you do when you have a cold.

The experience was a good reminder of the facts. Spending time close to someone with COVID-19, means you may catch it and not know it.   COVID-19 can be spread to others a couple of days before having symptoms.  Symptoms can and do vary from person to person. 

Watch for symptoms for 10 days and test 5 days after you were exposed to someone who tested positive. If symptoms develop, get tested right away. If you test positive, stay home and away from others for at least the first 5 days, when you are most infectious. After those first 5 days you can leave your home and return to community activities, but wear a mask.

If you are 5 years or older and you completed all the recommended doses of your COVID-19 vaccine, or you have had COVID-19 in the past three months, you do not need to distance yourself from others.  But, still get tested five days after the close contact and don’t be shocked if you see the pink line.  

P.S. Local healthcare facilities and pharmacies have tests available. You can order tests free through the Minnesota Department of Heath here: https://mn.gov/covid19/get-tested/at-home/index.jsp.  You can also contact your health insurance to find out options for purchasing over the counter tests to take at home.  If you test positive or are exposed to someone who tested positive, go to the CDC website https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/quarantine-isolation.html for information.

Marcia Schroeder RN

Horizon Public Health