By Debra Moore
A 25-year-old Quincy resident tested positive for COVID-19 on Nov. 4 — the same day that she was tested — and just three days after her first symptom manifested itself.
Molly (not her real name) began coughing on Sunday, Nov. 1. Over the next two days, she developed a sore throat, congestion, a severe headache and exhaustion. She was tested at Plumas District Hospital and received her results the same day.
“I woke up feeling so exhausted,” she said during our Friday morning, Nov. 6 interview, even though she had slept for more than 12 hours. She also feels like she is “burning up,” even though she has no fever.
“Today is definitely the worst I have been,” she said, adding that she has had a severe headache for three days and “nothing is touching it” despite trying different pain relievers.
So far, Molly still has her sense of taste and smell. Her coworker, with whom she shares a local office, tested positive the same day that Molly did, but to date her only symptom is a tickle in her throat. That woman is in her 30s.
Molly is following the instructions laid out by Public Health and is isolating for 10 days. She lives with her family, and they have been instructed to isolate for 14 days. Neither they nor her friends have tested positive for the virus as of yet. To avoid her family as much as possible, Molly is confined to her room. A brother who does not live with the family has been bringing groceries to the house.
During Public Health’s contact tracing investigation, Molly reconstructed her timeline of activities and all of her contacts for two weeks. She estimates that about a dozen people would have been contacted by the investigator. In addition to her primary job and friends, she has another part-time job that brings her into contact with more people.
“I’m already losing friends over this,” Molly said. “I’ve been told multiple times that I’m causing extreme chaos.” That’s because those contacts in turn must self-isolate and be tested based on their level of exposure. (Plumas News will be posting a separate story that details the types of questions that are asked during the contact tracing investigation.)
Molly has cooperated with the contact tracing process; even calling the investigator back after she remembered more people that she had contact with. While Public Health has been checking in with a Greenville family that contracted the virus on a daily basis, Molly said she hasn’t heard from the health agency since the initial contact tracing conversations. Nor has she talked with her primary care physician. She has been relying on home remedies to combat her symptoms.
She said that Public Health told her that after her 10-day isolation period she could return to work, and that she didn’t need to be retested, nor did her contacts after 14 days. “I thought that was strange,” she said. “I thought that I would have to test negative twice.”
Tina Venable, director of nursing for Public Health, confirmed that there isn’t additional testing requirements, but with some caveats — such as if the individuals are experiencing symptoms. If a contact tested negative, but then developed symptoms, he or she would be tested again.
As for contact with Public Health, Venable said that it depends on the circumstances. “Some people don’t want to hear from us again, but others do,” she said. As for the Greenville family, she said that the agency contacted them regularly “because they were so ill.” (Two family members were hospitalized.)
The Greenville family is an example of one person visiting from out of town, and spreading it to five family members. So far, no one in Molly’s family has tested positive. Venable said that household spread depends on one’s immune system and the amount of contact with an infected person. “We have found islands of negative people in a household,” she said.
Plumas News will continue to check in with Molly and her family and provide updates on her condition.