Three in our family are positive for COVID
We are doing well
On April 24 I was scheduled to have a medical procedure done on my eyes. I called the clinic several days in advance to make sure that the appointment would go forward as planned and they assured me that everything was still going to happen. When I showed up for my appointment, they had standard COVID related questions that they asked me. Based on one of my answers they said that I would need to have a COVID test in advance of the procedure, and sent me home.
Later that day, I went to have my COVID test done. The test was a bit uncomfortable, but not painful. They stuck a swab up one of my nostrils, way up there! It only took a few seconds, though, and they told me that I would be hearing from them within 2 days with my test results. If I was negative I could go back to the eye clinic to have the needed procedure completed.
On April 26 my phone rang, I answered and it was the Indiana Department of Health.
I got my COVID test results
Turns out, I was positive with the virus. I was asymptomatic. I did not feel sick at all, but my test showed that I was infected with the virus. I really felt fine, but had the virus. I was very surprised by the results.
How did I get the virus?
Well, you can never be 100% certain how you got a virus, but I have a pretty good feeling of how I got it.
In Indiana, we have been under quarantine since around the beginning of April, perhaps a little earlier than that, I have forgotten. I was, though, still able to go out to some extent. All of the other members of my household (wife Feyma and two of our sons, Chris and Jared) work for Tyson foods and are considered essential employees.
Tyson is one of the big boys in the food supply chain, and it is their work that helps feed the country, so that is essential. Because our other household members are essential employees, we have a pass so that they can go to and from work, and I provide their transportation, so I could legally do that in order to help keep the nation supplied with meat.
Additionally, I take care of most of our grocery shopping, which usually means going to Walmart. We live in a small town, Logansport, Indiana, and Walmart is one of only a few grocery stores. So a couple of times per week I would go to Walmart to stock up on necessary groceries.
Whenever I was out in public, I did my best to follow the social distancing guidelines. At Walmart, I would always try to stay 6 feet away from other shoppers, but sometimes others would not follow the guidelines and come in very close contact with me. I always use the self-checkout at Walmart (I know, a lot of you don’t like the self-checkout, but that is a discussion for another day) so I never have contact with cashiers or anything. I pay with a credit card, so I am not handling cash (which carried germs).
Basically, I took every precaution to make sure I was avoiding the virus.
But, there is one thing that probably delivered the virus to my body.
Close contact at Tyson
As I noted, my wife and two of our kids work for Tyson Foods. In mid-April, there was a lot of talk around the community that Tyson was having COVID cases. But, it was kept fairly quiet. I knew that a lot of people were absent from work, but there really was no confirmation.
Around April 22, my wife and kids got text messages from Tyson saying that the Tyson facility would be shut down for 2 weeks for cleaning and disinfecting. They also got a text message that each of them should report at work on April 23rd for COVID testing. When they had their COVID test done they were told that the results would be provided to them in 3 to 5 days. I had my COVID test (through the local hospital, not from Tyson) the next day, April 24. I got my results on April 26, and the rest of my family got results a couple of days after I got mine.
You already know that I was positive. The first Tyson result that came to my family was for our eldest son, Chris, and he was positive. We basically came to the conclusion that all 4 of us would be positive, and we were taking measures to social distance (to an extreme extent) within the household. Over the next couple of days results came in for Feyma and Jared. Feyma came out negative, which was really a surprise to us. Jared was positive, though, so 3 of us in the household are positive, and one is negative.
General Tyson results
It has come out in the media that Tyson, with about 2200 employees in the local facility, had about 900 positives from their testing. Until the Tyson results came in there were only a handful of positive COVID tests in our community. But, after the Tyson results came in, and more positive results from elsewhere around the community, our county had suddenly become one of the COVID hotspots in the USA.
At Tyson, they work in extremely close contact to process the meat. Tyson did take precautions to help employees avoid the virus, but apparently those precautions were not enough. The did distance employees in areas where that was possible, they also took steps to shield workers in the lunchroom and provided additional break room area to allow for distancing.
Defense Procurement Act
During the past week, President Trump ordered Tyson and other meat processing facilities around the USA to remain open and keep providing food for the nation. So, Tyson will be reopening this week, but it is my understanding that they have taken measures to thoroughly disinfect the facility in preparation for workers to return safely.
I must say that Tyson has really gone out of their way to treat their employees right. For one thing, employees have continued to receive their pay even while the plant has been shutdown. Over the past month or so, Tyson has even provided its employees with free meat and other benefits too. Most Tyson employees that I talk to have been very appreciative of how they have been treated by their employer.
So, did I get COVID from Tyson?
I can’t say for sure, but it is certainly a possibility. As I noted earlier in this article, I had contact at Walmart or other grocery stores in the area. But, with Tyson being a hotspot for COVID in our county, it is pretty likely that somebody in my family brought the virus home with them at some point and that is how I got it.
I don’t blame Tyson, I feel that Tyson has been very fair to their employees and families of their employees. We are grateful for the opportunity that Tyson has provided to us.
How am I feeling?
Frankly, I feel pretty good. I am more or less asymptomatic.
- I have no fever
- I am not coughing
- I have no respiratory problems
- I don’t feel sick
Symptoms that I do have:
- I get tired several times per day and usually need to take 2 naps each day
- I have lost my sense of smell
- I have some minor joint pain
- From time to time I feel a bit light-headed or dizzy
Other than those things, I feel great.
In fact, of those minor symptoms that I have experienced, they are mostly gone now, so I think that I am nearly recovered from the virus.
At the time I am writing this article, I have had my results and have been doing strict quarantine for 9 days. At the time I was given my results I was told that I should quarantine for 14 days, and at that time if I have been asymptomatic for at least 7 days then I should consider myself virus free. I asked if I would be tested again after I am completely asymptomatic, but they told me that they are not re-testing at this time. That surprised me. I would not be surprised if they reconsider and do follow-up tests on people who previously tested positive.
So, now you know where I stand in terms of the virus. My family is also doing fairly well. Feyma remains seeminly healthy (no symptoms at all, doesn’t feel sick), Chris seems to have recovered already (no symptoms anymore, and feels healthy), and Jared has been asymptomatic until the past few days, but is now showing some symptoms but nothing very bad.
Hopefully, my family, our country, and the rest of the world can put COVID behind us soon!