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A Central Minnesota Family Battles COVID-19 At Home

Published in For the Health of It Author:

As restrictions ease around the state, many Minnesota families are looking forward to the holiday weekend. There are many safe ways to enjoy Fourth of July during the COVID-19 pandemic – unless you’re directly impacted by the virus.

"I was fearful initially when I first heard and I was little freaked out," a Central Minnesota mom said. "I didn’t think it would happen to us – yet here we are. It affected us and it’s continuing to affect us.”

This mom of five is talking about her three kids at home who tested positive and are sick with COVID-19. She, her husband and two other children tested negative.

“We’re negative, but we’re also like, for how long?” she said. “It feels inevitable because in our own family we see how contagious this is. Half of us have got it.”

This family did not want to use their names but did want to share their story to raise awareness – especially for families with older children at home. This mother’s oldest daughter turned 21 years old when the state was shut down. Like many other young adults her age, she was excited to get out of the house and celebrate with friends.

“The risk was there,” the mom said. “We knew it was a possibility. That’s the challenge with this type of family – three of our kids are of legal age and two of them are teenagers. Being social is 99 percent of what their focus is.”

Unfortunately, this Minnesota family is now forced into quarantine. The kids with COVID-19 – ages 21, 17 and 13 – are being isolated from the rest of the family. The mom is delivering medicine and meals while wearing a mask. She is disinfecting doorknobs and scrubbing her hands after checking foreheads for a fever. A heartbreaking way for a mother to care of her kids.

“It is hard as a parent,” she said. “When you see your kids sick, you want to comfort them, but this doesn’t allow you to do that.”

At first, they complained of headaches, fevers and sore eyes. But she says their symptoms have been changing frequently – and now include loss of taste and smell, sore throat and a tight chest.

“On the whole, if you are a young person and you are otherwise healthy, chances are you’re going to do just fine,” the mother said. “I’m trying to focus on that. But the reality is – we don’t know a lot about this and there are people who are very ill. And there are people who should have done fine with this virus, and they aren’t.”

While young people are not considered high-risk if they contract COVID-19, young adults are now on the upward trend of testing positive for the virus. And like this Central Minnesota family is finding out – if one person gets COVID-19, it can quickly impact the entire family and all the other people they encounter.

Before finding out two of her kids were positive for the virus, they attended a choir practice and got senior pictures taken. They even gathered as a family to celebrate their birthday and one of the COVID-19 positive children blew out the candles on the cake.

“The next day one of those sons woke up with symptoms,” the mom said. “We realized in horror that he had blown out the candles on the cake the night before. And we had all eaten the cake. And we thought – we are not dodging this. We are all going to get it.”

While that isn’t the case so far, this Minnesota family is taking extra precautions to keep the virus from spreading any further. They are all quarantining for 14 days and plan to get fireworks delivered for the Fourth of July.

“Because it’s invisible, especially for this age group of kids, it doesn’t seem real,” the mom said. “We are experiencing the reality of what’s happening in our world. And it’s very real when you have it. It’s jarring. It changes the way we think about everything and the precautions we have to take now.”

An important message for all families – especially those who have teenagers and young adults at home who are trying to balance a social life and the health of their community.

“I’m trying to be in a good place and a good mind space,” the mom said. “I have a lot of people I’m looking after and I need to help them get through it. Right now, we’ve got 14 days of holding down the fort. Then, if another one of us gets it, that 14 days resets. It has the potential to be a really long quarantine.”