By Debra Moore
Back in February a Quincy resident had many of the classic symptoms of coronavirus, but couldn’t get a test — he didn’t fit the criteria at the time — hadn’t been to China, no known contact with a confirmed case.
By June the Quincy resident had none of the classic symptoms of coronavirus, but he could get a test — there was a mass testing event at the fairgrounds — and it came back positive.
Meet Plumas County’s confirmed case No. 11: an asymptomatic 43-year-old man who is sharing his experience to help protect his friends, neighbors and community. While he was prepared to identify himself, some family members preferred that he didn’t, so for simplicity, we will call him Bill.
Was he surprised that he tested positive? “Surprised? Of course,” he said. He had decided to get tested simply as a precaution. “I was going to help with coaching on the mountain bike team,” he said, plus he still had the lingering suspicion that he had it back in February.
Back then he and a coworker had been traveling around the state for their jobs. They were inspecting a dam in a remote area when a woman approached them. “She was visibly very sick,” Bill said, “but she wanted to talk about a mountain lion she had seen.”
He soon fell ill as did his coworker. He lost his sense of taste and smell and became very fatigued — (something that would linger for a while). Immediately suspecting coronavirus, he self isolated for 14 days and kept himself away from his family. “My wife left me food on the stairs,” he said. Their two-story home allowed him to remain separated fairly easily. Because he couldn’t get a test, he couldn’t confirm that he was positive but remains convinced that he was.
Which makes him question the genesis for his positive confirmation that came July 2 following the June test. “Is this a recurrence (from February)?” he asked. “Or did I get exposed somewhere else?”
Bill said that he has been very careful — social distancing, wearing a mask, foregoing travel. But he did make one trip to an auto dealership in Reno for a recall appointment, and thinks he could have been exposed while sitting in an enclosed waiting room for a few hours.
But he had no symptoms. That also leads to his questions: Did I not get symptoms because I already had it and had some degree of protection? Or, was the viral load such that I tested positive, but not enough to experience symptoms?
He, like many others, scours the available information for clues, but there are no definitive answers.
It took seven days from his test date to receive notice that he was positive. He had already been self-isolating, so public health instructed him to continue to do so for another three days. His family however, and those he had come into contact with, were instructed to begin a 14-day quarantine.
Public Health considered him recovered at the 10-day mark, but Bill pushed to be tested again just to make sure. That test came up negative. As did the test results for his family members and others he had contact with.
Bill said the entire experience has been stressful for his family and rather surreal. For his part, Bill said his stress came in worrying about infecting others. That’s why he is such a proponent of people wearing a mask.
“You might feel 100 percent fine, but you could be positive and spread it to someone else, and that person could get very sick,” he said.
Editor’s Note: Our readers have been very appreciative of confirmed cases telling their stories. Confirmed case No. 3 as well as a Plumas District Hospital employee, who is not contained in Plumas County’s official case count, have already shared their stories and they can be read on this website. Anyone else who would like to share their story can contact [email protected].