First, I have something to say. The lack of preparedness and manpower to test large numbers of people is absolutely ridiculous. It took 13 days after being tested for COVID-19 to receive my results. It took 3 days of calls to get an appointment to get tested in the first place. In the end, I was lucky. I was lucky that my body handled the virus without too many issues. Today is Easter Sunday and I’m healthy and totally back to normal.
This story begins back on Tuesday, March 23. On this day I was broadcasting from our NY1 Studios, bringing everyone the forecast as the number of COVID-19 confirmed cases and deaths began to rapidly rise. For me, this virus started with a headache at the end of my shift. I didn’t think much of it at first, but things progressed later in the day. Thankfully, I work somewhere that took this virus very seriously from the start. We were already down to minimal in-building staff and most people were working remotely. The building was being consistently sanitized and of course, for those of us in the building, we were practicing social distancing. With all that in mind, I believe we were able to minimize the exposure to others, including my co-anchors.
Later that Tuesday I noticed a tickle in my throat. That tickle turned into a slight cough and the headache worsened. By Tuesday evening, I made a call to our senior executive producer. I told him that I wasn’t feeling well and that although it could be allergies, I wasn't sure what I was feeling. We agreed it would be best to be overly cautious. I started working from home the very next morning.
That first morning working from home I woke up with a temperature of 100.5 degrees. I didn’t feel that sick. I had a headache and I wasn’t coughing much. I took some Tylenol and showered and got ready to broadcast from my living room for the first time. I made it through my shift just fine. By noon, I was exhausted but felt ok overall. Later that evening my fever climbed to 101.3. Some more Tylenol knocked my fever down to normal.
Thursday and Friday mornings I woke up feeling basically the same. I had a headache but I was feeling ok otherwise. Each morning I took some Tylenol and then worked my regular shift. I was able to bring you the forecast with a smile and get through those shifts without feeling like I was pushing myself too hard. My cough did progress but I never experienced any pain in my chest. My symptoms really resembled how I’ve felt in the past when I had bronchitis. Still, with so many new cases of COVID-19, and with a 3rd day of symptoms not improving, I thought it was time to get tested. I called to make an appointment on Thursday and then again on Friday. Both days there was no answer. Both days I left a message and both days I didn’t hear back.
Saturday I started feeling better. It was March 28th and 5 days since my first symptom started. My fever that morning started around 100 and vanished all on its own by the end of the day. But something very strange happened. I lost my sense of smell! I actually noticed it in the shower. I couldn’t smell my shampoo or soap like I normally could. I read many stories about others that lost their sense of smell after testing positive for COVID-19, so I grew more confident that I had the virus. I called again. This time, someone answered and now I had an appointment for the next day, Sunday.
The test itself was easy. I went to a walk up site. The line outside had everyone separated in a staggered pattern that distanced everyone 6 feet from one another. When it was my turn the nurse confirmed my information, stuck the swab so far up my nose it felt like it touched my brain, and then put the swab into a tube. She placed the tube into a bag with my information and said I should receive a call with my results in 3 to 5 days.
I got tested on March 29th and I didn’t get my results until April 11th. This wasn’t because the test wasn’t complete. My results were back. I didn’t get my results for 13 days because there wasn’t enough manpower to contact me with the news. Of course, that’s my assumption. It could just as easily be a result of being disorganized.
But let’s look on the bright side. I don’t know anyone that was around me during this time that got sick after me. We’ll know for sure who also had the virus once we get a readily available anti-body test. But my point is, what we are doing works! The washing of the hands, the social distancing, the disinfecting and cleaning. It’s making a difference in slowing the spread. That being said, the number of deaths has been devastating. There are so many sad stories every single day about another amazing person that we’ve lost as a result of this virus. Sadly, we’ll continue to hear stories of loss for quite some time.
But let’s keep doing what we’re doing. Let’s stay strong and stay the course. This has been an immensely difficult time for everyone. And my heart breaks for those that have lost someone close to them. I just hope that next time (and there will be a next time) that we learn from our mistakes and react faster, get our testing capabilities to where they need to be, and save many more lives.