HELENA, AL (WBRC) – UPDATE: Sara Anderson, a Helena teenager, and her entire family have tested NEGATIVE for COVID-19. Anderson tested positive for COIVD-19 in early March and was placed in quarantine until she got better.
We are happy to report she is virus-free and feeling better.
The Anderson family are still under quarantine for a few more days, but all say they feel well.
Dad, Kevin, wanted to share, “how deeply grateful we are for the prayers and well wishes from the community of Helena.”
ORIGINAL: Last week, Sara Anderson was in school, competing in weightlifting competitions and looking forward to Spring Break. This week, she’s in quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19.
The healthy, active 16-year-old was greeted by doctors in Hazmat suits when she showed up at the Emergency Room Thursday morning, coughing so badly she could barely catch her breath.
“She was coughing so hard, she literally could not speak,” said her father, Kevin Anderson. In the background over the FaceTime interview, Sara starts coughing. “Yes, that’s her coughing. She is two rooms away,” said Mr. Anderson.
Sara started feeling badly Saturday night. At first, she just didn’t feel well and “kind of had a headache.” Within a few hours, her dad said her temperature reached 103-degrees.
“It went quick, very quick.”
Anderson said he and his wife decided Sara should be checked for the Coronavirus so they kept her isolated until she could be tested Tuesday morning. By Wednesday evening they had confirmation she was infected.
“When you go to a testing site, honestly, it’s terrifying at least it was for me,” said Mr. Anderson. “Knowing there is a possibility that my daughter has something that has people walking around in Hazmat suits, that has people holding up signs that say, ‘Do not roll your window down, do not speak to us, we will message you.’”
“It is absolutely terrifying and come to find out that [she has] what they are all afraid of, to have people not take it seriously, I don’t know what it’s going to take. Unfortunately, it’s going to take, it may take more people getting ill and it’s sad,” said Anderson, shaking his head.
He added, “And if there is one message that I want people to hear, it’s listen to the officials, nobody is trying to quarantine you for no reason, and the faster we start paying attention to what we are being asked, the sooner this is going to be over.” Sara said when she first learned she was diagnosed, she thought about everyone she’s been around.
“I was so scared that I could have been the reason someone else, you know, got sick, I wasn’t thinking of myself in that moment, I was thinking of others,” said Sara.
In isolation, Sara said she’s spent time on social media and sees people downplaying the seriousness of the crisis.
“Don’t make it a joke. I see so many jokes online about the people, how they are overreacting and how it’s just a cold, or it’s just the flu, you know, ‘Go outside, enjoy your life!’ No, don’t listen to that. It’s not a joke,” she said.
Wearing the mask she’s required to put on whenever she leaves her bedroom, she reiterated, “It is not a joke. It’s serious.”