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Patient profiles: 'In hindsight, I was kind of lucky': Genoa resident shares experience with COVID-19

Editor’s Note: This is Part 2 of an ongoing series telling the stories of DeKalb County residents who have been diagnosed with and/or hospitalized with COVID-19. If you live in DeKalb County and would like you share your story with a Daily Chronicle reporter, email news@daily-chronicle.com. To read Part 1, visit www.daily-chronicle.com.

GENOA – Tyler Walker, 24, of Genoa said he and his girlfriend were visiting his friend in Wisconsin a couple of months ago. While they were there, the group went out to lunch and spent time out and about together, he said.

A few days later, the symptoms started appearing, Walker said, providing a likely answer for the ‘where’ when he later confirmed it: he’d contracted COVID-19.

“So that was probably, more than likely, where it was, because we were all in the same place at the same time,” Walker said. “We all got symptoms a couple days after that.”

Walker is one of the one of more than 4,848 cases of COVID-19 identified within DeKalb County to date, and spoke to the Daily Chronicle to share his story.

Walker said the first symptom he had was a sore throat, which eventually became a choppy cough. A couple days later, he got tested and the positive test result came two days after that – about the end of August and beginning of September, he said.

Walker said the cough wasn’t too painful and was just uncomfortable, like most coughs are. He said he also had a fever for a couple of days.

“But the worst of it was probably, for me, when I felt really fatigued and dizzy,” Walker said. “That came on about three or four days after I had probably contracted it. It wasn’t quite like a headache – it’s hard to explain. But I just felt very out of it – just almost hazy, kind of.”

Walker said that brain fog coupled with the sore throat and cough lasted about four days.

Walker said he wasn’t hospitalized, but he quarantined for two weeks per common health recommendations. For the most part, he said, he just took it easy throughout his week-and-a-half recovery process.

“I think honestly, in hindsight, that I was kind of lucky,” Walker said. “Because I’ve had a couple of family members and friends who have gotten it over the last several months, and some of them said that it’s the sickest they’ve ever been in their life. So I think I was kind of fortunate to not really feel that bad and need that kind of treatment.”

Walker said he lives with a roommate, although he quarantined at his home in Genoa by himself and with his girlfriend, who also had it at the same time, for a little bit.

“So it was kind of nice to be able to be with somebody who was in no danger of being infected by it, because she already was,” Walker said.

Since his experience with contracting COVID-19, Walker’s views on mitigation efforts to combat the illness have changed, he said. While some his age might still be a little lax about precautionary health and safety measures, he has since been more careful about wearing a mask out in public, along with washing his hands and using hand sanitizer more often.

“I think people don’t really realize that if they might not really care as much, that’s their own perogative, but they have to be more cognizant that they could infect other people – which I think is what I think I became a lot more aware of, I guess,” Walker said.

Walker said he has not directly infected anybody else that he knows of. He said other friends and family that he saw in the days before he started showing symptoms didn’t get sick, nor did anyone at his workplace.

“So that was kind of a relief, that I didn’t infect anybody else,” Walker said.

At the time of his interview in October, Walker said he had not yet been contacted by DeKalb County Health Department contact tracers, but he was told at the doctor’s office that it might happen. He said he could see how tedious and difficult it might to remember every single place you have been in the two weeks leading up to symptoms appearing – however, he would have been open to providing that information to them.

“It’s almost like following that trail of bread crumbs,” Walker said. “But I certainly would have cooperated any way that I could have to help them out and provide them information. … It’s one of those things where, if I did infect somebody, it wouldn’t necessarily be my fault – that wasn’t my intention, to infect somebody, and it would have been just a complete accident – but it could maybe stop the spread further if they knew that I was in a certain place, and maybe they could have taken certain precautions, like get certain people who work there tested. I know the whole think is kind of a mess, with doing that, but I just would have done all that I could have to help any way that I could have.”

Walker said it might not be realistic to expect people to stay in their homes and to not just go about their lives. However, he would urge caution for those who might consider sitting shoulder-to-shoulder at a bar, for example.

“But you just want to be as careful as you can,” Walker said. “Because you never know if you could potentially get someone else sick and you didn’t even know it.”

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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