By Debra Moore
Earlier today Plumas News reported that four members of the Quincy Volunteer Fire Department tested positive for coronavirus and one of those members has come forward to share his story.
Captain John Gay and his wife, Kitty, both 67, as well as two of their adult sons all tested positive earlier this month. John isn’t sure how exactly he contracted it — either from one of his sons or possibly from one of four known coronavirus cases that he came into contact with during medical calls.
Both John and Kitty began having cold symptoms on Saturday, Dec. 12. They tested at Plumas District Hospital on Monday, Dec. 14, and received the positive diagnosis.
They were contacted by Public Health for the contact tracing process, and “they have been calling every day to check on us,” John said.
Of the two, Kitty fared better. “My case was much more mild,” she said. “I just had a dry cough and some chills. But I had no fever, no trouble breathing, and I wasn’t fatigued.”
John was quite fatigued, had low grade headaches and the cough, but he said it was nothing compared to what he experienced last December.
“I was way more sick then; I was out on the couch for two solid weeks,” he said. He has experienced shortness of breath ever since, and believes that round of illness damaged his lung capacity. He is scheduled to see a doctor next month. Like many locals, he thinks that COVID made the rounds last winter and that he caught it then.
Their sons, one is 35 and the other 41, also had symptoms. One experienced fever and a bad cough, while the other had more mild flu-like symptoms.
All are on the mend; with John and Kitty able to leave their house as of today, Dec. 23.
A close call
Though John ultimately contracted coronavirus in mid December, he had a close call a couple of weeks earlier when the Plumas Crisis Center asked him to drive an individual to Truckee for outpatient surgery.
The plan was for John to drop the man off at the hospital and then return after the surgery was completed. “I asked him all the questions about COVID,” John said. The individual claimed to have no symptoms and had tested negative for the virus. Turns out that he had been tested, but he hadn’t received the results before the trip to the hospital.
Five minutes after dropping the man off, John received a call from the hospital saying that the man was positive. “We wore no masks and were sitting in a Subaru,” he said of the drive over. Bearing in mind the incubation period and heeding the advice of medical experts, John waited eight days to get tested — negative. “No more Mr. Nice Guy,” John said of the incident.
But they are nice guys
Being sick with coronavirus couldn’t have come at a worse time for John and Kitty as it coincided when they would be filling food baskets for local families — their annual monumental task. They both lauded the efforts of the volunteers who assembled the baskets in their stead and the community for generously donating to support the food drive.
“The community just in the first month donated $9,500 in gift cards,” John said. “Per capita they donated more than huge cities.”
Each family who received a basket — 100 in Greenville and 200 in Quincy — also received a $50 Safeway gift card.
Kitty said that the community has been so generous that they have “been able to provide more food” than ever before. “I just want to thank all of the donors in the community,” she said.