Eastern Plumas woman shares COVID experience

By Debra Moore

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“My first thought was ‘I’m gonna die.’”

That’s how an Eastern Plumas resident described her response to the news that she tested positive for coronavirus. The 57-year-old who wishes to remain anonymous, said she was tested after a known contact tested positive for the virus.

That was back on Nov. 8, and though the woman considers hers to have been a mild case, more than two months later she still suffers from headaches, exhaustion and has yet to regain her sense of taste or smell.

For the purposes of this story, Plumas News will refer to the woman as Mary, who came forward so that she could share her experience to help others.

Mary knows she contracted the virus from an asymptomatic friend who had recently moved back to the county. His case was detected when he was tested for his workplace. Ironically, while she had limited contact with her friend and ultimately contracted the virus, his family, with home he resides, did not. “Everybody got tested and at first mine came back negative,” she said. “But then I started feeling odd, so I was retested.”

Initially, her main symptom was “being achy” — sort of like “you worked out for the first time,” as she described it. Mary smokes so she worried about how the virus would progress. She quickly experienced fatigue, headaches and the loss of smell or taste.

The latter came as a big blow for this regular coffee drinker. Not only can she not smell it, but the taste of it is particularly awful. Mary said that in her quest to find something that she can actually taste, she has gained weight.

Mary also experienced a slight fever and a runny nose, but never the cough that is often associated with the virus. Though her fatigue has improved somewhat, she is still taking a daily nap.

Mary is back at work, but she is maintaining a low profile and skipped the holidays with her family out of an abundance of caution. “There’s so much they don’t know yet about this disease,” she said.

When she was diagnosed, Mary received a call from Public Health as part of the contact tracing process. Who had she seen? Mary had spent time with a 94-year-old woman for whom she had been making meals and checking on three times a day. The woman tested negative. Mary wonders why she contracted the virus when no one else did and thinks it could be linked to her chronic anemia.

During her illness, family brought her food and Jessica from Public Health checked in with her daily. “She called every day, even on weekends,” Mary said. “She became like a friend.” The contact was welcome because Mary said she felt a little “like a leper” and didn’t tell anyone except for her immediate family.

Mary cautions everyone to take the virus seriously, because even though she considers her case to be mild, it was stressful not knowing what ultimately could happen, and she continues to live with its lingering effects.

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