We have COVID. Now what? So many questions

Long story short, my fiancee brought COVID home for Christmas. She had an employee get sick and test positive, exposure would have been on Sat. Dec 19th. She tested negative the following Monday and again tested negative just before Christmas.

However, Christmas eve she developed fatigue but not much else. She was couchlocked for a few days but felt better by Sunday the 27th. She got another test yesterday (Dec 28th) that came back positive. For the record, the 3 tests were done at the same lab, administered by a medical professional and were not “rapid tests,” just quick-turn around lab tests.

We are quarantining and I have not been tested but assume I’m infected, and I will get tested for statistical and documentation reasons within the next few days.

Right now no one has many symptoms, and we are hoping for a pair of mild cases.

However, she is starting to struggle to smell. I read that is an earlier onset symptom and a precursor to what is to come. Is that true?

What should we expect?

What can we do to mitigate worsening symptoms? Does Zinc help?

Regarding exposure and the gap between negative and positive test results, what does that mean? I was told that once the virus is in you, it replicates until it shows up symptomatically or via tests, but that you could be infected for a while before it shows up in tests. Is that true?
This portion of info will help with contact tracing and notifying anyone who might have been exposed.

Also, when do we count the quarantine period from–the onset of symptoms (Dec 24th), or 10 days from the positive test result? Or 10 days from initial exposure (this one makes no sense as she only just now tested positive, 9 days after exposure).

Thanks for any info.

Ask your physician’s office for instructions specific to your situation and locale. Your local Health Department would also be an excellent alternative source of information.

Information filtered through social media or public pundit boards is less likely to be complete and timely and much more subject to interpretation. Go to the source, medical professional, local, city, regional or state public health department. Lastly, an employer may have explicit expectations that need to be met.

Doing that tomorrow. I mostly need to know:

  1. Which of these exposure/symptoms/positive test do you start your quarantine timer,
  2. When’s the ideal time frame for me to get my test done.
  3. What mitigating measures we can take to keep it from getting bad. So far I feel 95% normal.

You start your quarantine from the last exposure to an active case.

An active case is 10 days from the end of symptoms and a negative test result.

So if you want to get out of quarantine, isolate yourself from the active case. If you can’t isolate yourself from the active case, your probable quarantine period is something like 27 days: 3 days to the end of the other persons symptoms, 10 days after that, 14 days after that. Unless you get sick soon: if you get sick today, your probable quarantine period is something like 13 days: 3 days until you get better, 10 days after that.

Ideal time frame for a test is either (a) when you get sick, or (b) at the end of your 10/14 days. (a) because you’ll want to know – it shortens your quarantine period, and (b), because you’ll want to know, and everybody else will want to know too.

There isn’t any home treatment for COVID. Rest, eat, drink. Take whatever you take for fever if you want to – there is always a suggestion that you get better faster if you let a fever take it’s course, but for any virus it’s never been clear that getting better faster is better than not having the fever.

You may not get it. My doctor tells me household transmission is only … I forget the number, but much lower than you would naively expect, like 20%. I assume it’s higher for couples who sleep together than for “household” – I was talking with him about the risk of my adult child, who lives in my household, caring for a high-risk person. (Like, if the high risk person contracts it, then my daughter might bring it home to me. I am at much higher risk of complications than my daughter.)

14 days after your last exposure, or ten days after all your symptoms resolve, whichever is second.

No one test is the be-all and end-all. But if you caught it from your fiance around when she got sick, you will likely test positive 2-3 days after your exposure. So go ahead and plan your test now.

I am not a doctor. But here’s my advice:

  1. If you aren’t sick yet, try to isolate from your fiance. This virus appears to be dose-dependant, so even if you catch it, you may get a milder case if she is careful to wear a mask when you need to be in the room to care for her, and if you avoid being in the same room more than need be. Also, use separate bathrooms if you can.
  2. Take vitamin D. There’s some evidence it helps, at least if you are low in vitamin D (and most Americans are in the winter.) I’ve seen several studies suggesting this, and my doctor recommended it, as well, because I am anxious about catching covid. The recommended dose is the same as what you’d take for a run-of-the-mill deficiency, 1000IU to 2000IU per day. It’s cheap, readily available, and is extremely unlikely to be toxic at those doses.
  3. Use a humidifier if your bedroom is dry. There’s a bunch of evidence that a dry nose is less immunologically effective than a moist one.
  4. If you do get sick, and feel congested, spend at least some of your time lying on your belly, rather than your back. (If you are well enough to walk around, even better.) If you spend all your time lying on your back it’s harder for your lungs to work.
  5. Use a pulse oximeter to keep an eye on how well you are keeping up your blood oxygen. If you don’t have one knocking around, you can pick one up on Amazon or have your local pharmacy deliver one. A low reading is a warning that you might need to head to the hospital for professional help. (I forget how low is low in this context – ask your doctor. But get the gadget now, as it might take a little time to arrive. They are pretty cheap, and completely non-invasive – they work by shining a light on your finger and measuring how much of the red light is reflected back, or something like that.)

Thanks for the info.

My insurance provider sent me an email about how all my COVID concerns are covered, and to let them know if I need to be tested.

I did so, and they tried to tell me only 1 testing facility is in my area, and I live smack in the middle of the most populace city in the state, so they were ultra useless. I made the earliest appointment I can at a CVS which will be late tomorrow afternoon, but turn-around time for results is 5 days, which puts me close to 19 days after exposure before I’ll get results.

The quick-lab my fiancee used isn’t scheduling until after the new year, so I will schedule that as soon as I can just to see what’s what.

So far she has lost smell and taste, but is otherwise about 90-95% normal. She is past the fatigue stage which was pretty bad for her for 3 days. I am starting to feel foggy-headed and get winded if I do too much, with some sinus stuff early in the day that is easily mitigated with allergy meds or Dayquil.

Monitoring my O2 saturation and I’m lower than usual but still “normal” in the 94-92% RANGE.

The county health board called to do some cursory contact tracing w my fiancee but didn’t even take my contact info or talk to me. Between my useless insurance not knowing where to go for a test and being on my own in that regard, and the difficulty finding a place to even DO a test, I guess it’s easy to see how this virus is spreading so much.

They used to think that, back when they thought most people didn’t give it to anyone else and mostly it was superspreaders spreading it. Now they think 53% of people get it from someone they live with.

Might it be best if the OP gets this information from his/her medical provider and not from random people on a message board?

I’m sure everyone here has only the best intentions but this is a serious issue and should, IMHO, be treated accordingly.

You’ve confirmed that’s normal? For my mom it was okay since she had a breathing problem, but I was told it’s actually supposed to be 95% or above. Maybe it would be considered normal when sick, but I don’t think it is while well. So it definitely sounds like you have it.

Monitor closely, as the numbers can go down quickly. Below 88% is a full on emergency.

They presumably are getting such help. But doctors tend to be busy, and can take a while to respond to questions. I’d rather err on the side of caution than say nothing.

I hope that they’ve been told by their doctor that 92% is okay and what level means they need to go to the hospital right away, but I want to make sure.

53% of people getting it from someone they live with does not conflict with only a 20% chance of getting it from someone you live with. They’re different statistics. One is, given that you have it, where did you get it from; the other is, if a family member has it, what’s the probability you get it?

This article from September says it’s only 12%, but that’s not a rigorous study: https://www.sltrib.com/news/2020/09/05/living-with-someone-who/

To be clear, I don’t know what the transmission rate within a household is. I’m just saying that the stat you posted doesn’t answer that.

They said they are talking with their doctor. And of course that should be their primary source of info. But asking around on a message board can help you line up questions to ask your doctor, can help you prep for stuff you want to do after the doctor confirms it, and generally can expose you to a lot of ideas.

When I have medical questions I usually poke around the internet, and then run stuff by my doctor. Eight times out of ten, he confirms what I asked about, one time out of ten he says, “no, in your case…”, and the other time he says, “hmm, let me look into that and get back to you”. So far, he’s confirmed all those “let me get back to yous”, and that’s something I wouldn’t have gotten if I hadn’t researched on my own, first. I think my doctor is great, by the way, and when he says “no” I’m sure he’s right. That doesn’t make it worthless or dangerous to ask around, too.

Guys I’m not substituting any of this info for real medical care, please don’t be alarmed, and don’t feel the need to bicker over any advice given.

UPDATE:

I took a test on the 31st and got my results back on the 2nd, which were negative.

I spoke with a doctor today. The fiancee is in the clear to return to normal life as of today (technically as of the 2nd) due to her exposure and symptom time-line.

Since we were functioning under the presumption there’s little to no way I didn’t catch it (she’s my fiancee, and all which that entails, plus we spend all our time in the same room/bed/share a bathroom/kitchen/etc…there was no feasible way to quarantine from each other…we just kind of assumed “oh you caught it? Cool, I have it, too”). But, now that I’ve tested NEGATIVE, it messes up my own quarantine time-line, which the doctor today says should be considered from the 2nd as “my last exposure” to her.

So he told me to either quarantine until the 12th, or if I develop symptoms to get re-tested and everything starts over from there, OR if no symptom develop, then 6 days after my “last exposure” to her (again this is a somewhat arbitrary technical point in time, the 2nd), I can re-test and if that test is also negative proceed with caution.

I’m going that route, provided I don’t have symptoms this week. I’ll re-test end of the week and if that’s neg then I’ll go for an antibody test.

COVID is so weird. She caught it standing near someone infected, I ate after her and took care of her when she was sick and nothing. I’m presuming I got weird lucky.