As The Beachcomber’s editor, I usually compose this editorial in the voice of our newspaper, reflecting our newspaper’s shared values with the community.
But I need to write from the heart on rare occasions, and this is one of those times.
A story on The Beachcomber’s front page this week, from VashonBePrepared, about how best to isolate if you have COVID, has hit quite close to home — my home, that is, where I am right now isolating, as I write this, because I have COVID.
I started feeling funny last Friday afternoon, but it has been so long since I’ve been sick that at first, I didn’t even recognize the feeling.
The first thing I thought was, gosh, I’m so tired. Then I thought, summer allergies, as I sniffled a bit. Later in the day, I wondered, why does my head feel hot?
At that point, I got up and finally left the office, where, I should add, I had been sitting alone behind a closed door for much of the day.
As I pulled in the driveway, I was greeted by my husband, who was working in the yard.
“I think I might have COVID,” I told him, describing the sniffles and fever.
He jumped away from me, as I made my way into the house toward our stash of rapid tests: one for me, one for him.
Mine was positive, his was negative — which allowed him to run to Vashon Pharmacy to pick up a free box of the antiviral, Paxlovid, for me, immediately prescribed by my primary care doc at Sea Mar’s Vashon clinic, within a few minutes after my test came back with the dreaded double line.
And that’s it. The story stayed pretty much the same until Sunday night, when my husband, who had immediately moved out of the house into his detached office after my test, also started sniffling and developed a fever.
My sniffles never got worse and now they are almost gone completely. My fever left quickly and never came back. I don’t feel sick at all anymore.
I hope it will be the same for my husband, who now has his very own prescription for Paxlovid.
We’ll both closely adhere to our Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) instructions about how long to keep isolating.
We’ve also alerted the MRC about our positive tests, to help them keep an accurate count of what’s going on on Vashon.
Our primary care doctor told us that COVID is “ripping through the community.”
We’ve both done everything that VashonBePrepared has advised our community to do all along, and even at times, taken it a bit further, if that is possible.
We’re fully vaccinated, and double boosted. We never stopped masking in indoor public spaces.
We are fortunate to both work in settings that allow us to be alone for much of our workdays.
We curtailed travel, and were extremely careful when we did have to venture out for both sad and happy family occasions.
Since the dawn of the pandemic, we’ve dined indoors with someone from outside our household exactly one time, in the summer of 2021, when we thought it was a safe thing for fully vaccinated people to do.
Yes, this was probably a little over the top, but it allowed me, once I finally tested positive, to text friends with the humorous proclamation: The Queen Has Fallen.
It allowed my husband, at first, to describe my case as “the Immaculate Infection.”
It allowed my father-in-law to ironically advise, “Well, maybe you should be more careful from now on.”
We like jokes around our house, they keep us sane.
As far as I can guess, a dreaded droplet of the highly contagious BA.5 most likely found me in an outdoor dining area that I had a few hesitations about because it seemed a little crowded. I didn’t insist on moving to a less crowded spot. I will next time.
Because of our vaccinations and boosters, and with the help of Paxlovid, my husband and I are bringing a lot of fight to our COVID game.
But I can’t help but think of those who are still at risk in our community for the most severe outcomes of COVID.
Despite the advances we have made in the past two and a half years, almost 500 people are still dying every day from COVID-related causes in the United States. Upwards of 40,000 people are currently hospitalized daily due to the disease.
In King County, the unvaccinated are 1.9 times more likely to get COVID, nine times more likely to be hospitalized for COVID and 10 times more likely to die of COVID.
There is a reason we keep publishing COVID updates from VashonBePrepared in this newspaper.
Caution, common sense and science are as needed now as they were in March of 2020. We’re still dealing with this virus, but we have a lot more tools at our disposal now than we did in the dark early days of 2020.
Please use them to take care of yourself and others.
— Elizabeth Shepherd, Editor