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I tested positive for coronavirus, here is what I learned

KTVB reporter Joe Parris tested positive for coronavirus. He explains what testing, symptoms, and his experience was like.

BOISE, Idaho — I tested positive for coronavirus.

I really didn’t think I would. We explained to the community for weeks the important information about the virus and what they needed to know, and yet I still thought for some reason I wouldn’t get it.

Like I told our viewers, practicing smart hygiene like washing your hands and coughing into your arm and keeping your distance is what you need to do. I was right, but yet I still got it.

My test results came in Tuesday evening, right before the earthquake hit actually.

When the nurse from St. Luke’s told me on the phone I had a confirmed case I was surprised. So how did we get to this point? I’ll start from the beginning.

Two weeks ago, the week of St. Patrick’s Day, I started feeling sick on Thursday night. At the time I didn’t really think much about it. Allergies were always possible, I could also just had a cold.

I stayed inside all weekend just in case.

By the following Monday morning though I knew it probably wasn’t just allergies.

At that point, I had symptoms that sounded like it could be coronavirus. I also knew though it could be the flu. 

I decided to call my doctors, and after a few conversations on the coronavirus hotline with nurses from St. Luke’s, they decided it was best for me to get tested.

The symptoms I had that morning: a cough, fever, shortness of breath.

Honestly, I just felt exhausted.

Early Tuesday, I went in to get tested at the drive-through set up at St. Luke’s off Parkcenter. To be frank, I was nervous as I pulled up. I had read that the test was not very pleasant. 

It was, in fact, unpleasant.

To be blunt, they stuck a large Q-tip-looking thing as far into my nose as they could, for ten seconds. The nurse did warn me it would be uncomfortable, and she was not kidding.

It felt like it was poking me in the brain

From there, a few nurses explained to me how I needed to behave over the next few days while waiting for my test results, which they said would take between four and eight days to get back.

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The guidance they gave me was to assume I had it and to self isolate.

I was already feeling really sick, so staying inside for a week was no problem. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday I felt pretty sick, Tuesday being the worst.

I’ve had people ask me, what was the worst symptom? To me, it was the shortness of breath.

I was lucky to have a fairly mild case, but I know the reality is not everyone will.

So, that’s why I'm sharing my story.

This is a very serious situation, a pandemic is not something anyone was planning on dealing with. Yet, I still notice people saying and posting online that they think this is the common cold that a lot of people just happened to get. For some it may feel that way, but the reality is coronavirus is not a common cold, it’s not the flu, it’s something we just haven’t dealt with. My job as a reporter is to tell you the truth, and the truth is although I am feeling much better, not all people will.

So, where does that leave us?

Well, I can give you some unsolicited advice. It’s the same advice you’ve heard for weeks, but if you’re not taking it seriously maybe this will change your mind: We need to continue to keep our social distance, practice good hygiene habits, listen to the science and take care of one another.

Through all of this I’ve reaffirmed my belief, Idaho is a great community. The outpouring of support for me personally has been overwhelming, and I’ve seen that same support for many others.

So, please take this pandemic seriously. We are all in this together.

RELATED: Map and timeline counting Idaho confirmed coronavirus cases, and what we know about each death

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At KTVB, we’re focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the virus. To see our full coverage and the latest COVID-19 case numbers, visit our coronavirus section here: www.ktvb.com/coronavirus   

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