Note for context – in MA, we went into shelter-at-home on March 16th, when I started to work from home.
One afternoon in the middle of March, I was informed that my family and I met a friend who has been diagnosed with COVID-19. We met him multiple times in the first week of the month. He started to have a slightly elevated temperature two or three days after we met. He was tested positive with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus about a week later.
Our friends shared the news with us with lots of regrets and apologies. We were thankful for them sharing the scary news with us. But there were no apologies needed! We were more concerned about our friends and those closest to him – colleagues, families, and friends. We are in this together, and we will all come out of this together and stronger. It was tough news to receive, especially since we are not able to get tested here in Boston, MA (until one starts to experience symptoms).
Right after I was notified, I called my medical team and talked to the nurse and cardiologist on call. They consulted with their partner infectious disease specialist, before calling me back with a plan of action. They explained to me that at that time only those who showed signs or symptoms of COVID-19 were being tested. They advised us to self-quarantine for 6 more days for the rest of the recommended 14-day incubation period. Our kids’ pediatricians and The Department of Public Health were also contacted for any additional instructions.
They simply confirmed the instructions from our medical teams. They also explained that considering that our friend did not show symptoms until about 72 hours after we last saw him, there should not have been any risk of getting infected from our friend. And, so, we remain calm and continue to monitor symptoms primarily fever, itchy throat, or problem breathing.
During the 8 days that followed our last encounters with our friend, before we were aware that he had tested COVID positive, we continued life as normal, including having our Supernanny at home, going to martial arts, grocery shopping, taking the kids to school, play dates at home, meeting the grandparents, and going to work. Together, we easily met 100s of people, each of whom would go on to meet 100s more people. For example, I went to the office on the week of the 9 except for Wednesday, where I went into town for a meeting and the hospital. On the 16th as well, I was at work. So, those I met 10 colleagues and others we share the office building with, who was in the office on those days would be at risk of being exposed if I were confirmed to have Covid-19. So, we had to inform a long list of people – our friends and families, colleagues, schools, medical care teams – the list went on.
Thankfully, the calls were received with calm, understanding, and surprisingly words of support for us. For our part too, we kept calm and remained positive as we learned more, received updates, and made sure to keep my medical team and everyone else informed. I prayed and hoped that no one was exposed to the virus on our account, and we stepped up on the precautions.
A few days later, we got some good news. Five other persons closest to him were tested and their results were negative for COVID-19. Luckily, no one else he came into contact showed or experienced any symptoms. This was very encouraging and meant that likely no one else in our home was infected.
Finally, on March 23rd I was happy to report that our 14-day observation period had ended. It had been 15 days since we last met our friend who got tested positive with the COVID-19 coronavirus. Everyone at home was feeling well and no one we encountered before our self-quarantine was experiencing any symptoms at the time. This was the same for those who are close to him and for everyone he met during that week here in Boston and while on his work trip.
I was very relieved that everyone was feeling healthy and that that episode was over! We continue to keep our friends in our thoughts and pray for his full recovery. Thankfully, a few days after testing positive, he was released from hospital having done a full recovery and a ton of yoga during his time there. With this positive note, I had a moment to acknowledge and take a moment to thank everyone for the great support during the week that preceded. The notes and phone calls meant a lot to us and helped us remain calm and lucid, during the intense days.
The experience was quite scary but at the same eye-opening and instructive. It was a tense trial run which gave us a feel for how dangerous the virus is and how easily it could be spread to loved ones and everyone one encounters. Since the virus is still around, we knew we had to continue to be careful and practice more physical distancing. We have continued to hunker down at home. This stressful week was surely a good wakeup call and a dry run for all of us.
As the world scrambles against the ‘invisible enemy’, my thoughts and prayers go out to all those who have already been affected by this crisis, and we hope that all remain safe as this pandemic unfolds. I am grateful for healthcare workers, local communities, and everyone and their efforts trying to contain this virus. I hope that together, we can soon contain this virus and that the damages are kept at a minimum.
And to you who are reading this, thank you. Please continue to be careful, remain vigilant wherever you are, take care of yourself and your dear ones.