Sarah Stultz: The COVID-19 pandemic is not yet over

Published 8:45 pm Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Nose for News by Sarah Stultz

Well, it happened.

After feeling some slight cold symptoms starting on Friday evening and finding out I was in close contact with someone else who tested positive for COVID-19, I went in to get tested Saturday with my husband and son at the free testing site at Shopko.

It was my first time since the beginning of the pandemic to get tested for COVID. While my son and husband had been tested before — with negative results — I had not yet experienced the unpleasantness of getting tested up to that time.

The dramatic stories I had heard from other people who had been tested early on during the pandemic with the nasopharyngeal swab test made me a little nervous going into the testing clinic, although I knew the tests offered at that clinic were a less severe nasal swab test. 

When we walked into the clinic, we were greeted by someone at the entrance who asked us to put on a second mask — and the whole situation became real.

I remember thinking, “I could have the virus I’ve been writing about for the last 20 months.”

With that came a flood of memories of other friends who have already experienced it with minimal problems, thoughts of a close friend who died from it in another state and stories of other people who are still dealing with the effects of long-haul COVID. What is going to happen if I test positive?

After signing up for our appointments by phone, we waited for our turns, got tested and then drove back home. About about an hour or so later, the results started trickling in.

My results, which came back first, were positive. My husband and son’s results, negative.

We began the process of hunkering down as guided by health officials -— getting all my work equipment dropped off at my house and contacting people I may have been in close contact with.

So far, I have had symptoms of a sinus cold with a slight headache, but as each day goes on, the nasal pressure lessens.

In case you may be wondering, yes, I was vaccinated, and yes, I am still glad I was. I am thankful I am not dealing with worse symptoms.

My husband and son still have had no symptoms, and we will probably have them tested again later this week.

As I work from home for the immediate future, I ask that you be patient with me and this newspaper as we make modifications to get our work done in a different way than we have had to before.

I’ll be doing more phone interviews, and you might see someone you haven’t seen before taking photos. We also have a few freelancers helping us out. If you’re out and you see something big happening, snap a quick photo and email it my way. I thank you in advance for your support.

Sarah Stultz is the managing editor of the Tribune.