Recovering Fairbanks COVID-19 patient speaks out as a cautionary tale

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska. (KTVF) A Fairbanksan who is recovering from the novel coronavirus is speaking out about her experience. Miriam Braun was one in the first handful of cases in Fairbanks, and is now on the mend. Those who get the virus can have a range of symptoms and experiences and Braun talked about what it was like for her.

Miriam Braun is a Fairbanks resident who is now recovering from COVID-19 and spoke about her experience. (Sara Tewksbury/KTVF)

She says on March 13, she started to have a bad headache and neck ache that felt like the flu. “I have some other health conditions so I wasn’t sure if I was having a flare or if it was just a bad head and neck ache, and it just kept getting worse. Then about three days later I developed a fever and the fever was relentless, I mean it lasted for a long time,” said Braun. She said the fever lasted from March 16 to March 27.

Braun says she went to urgent care and they were able to give her fluids, which helped since she was having difficulty drinking and eating. She says they tested her for the flu, but that came back negative and about a week after she started having symptoms, someone from the state’s health department called telling her she had been exposed to COVID-19 when she had gone to a previous doctor’s appointment. After five days, the test came back positive.

Braun describes her experience having the virus as, "it's kind of like you've been running and you can't quite catch your breath, and you try to take a deep breath and it just hitches, it get stuck like you can't breathe, you can't even yawn, which I thought was strange. You can't really feel it in your lungs, you just feel like you can't take a deep breath, and on top of that, having the fever and the headache, it's just your whole body hurts, and all I could do was lie down. Even just turning over in bed, I would be out of breath and it would take me 10 minutes to catch my breath again.”

Braun wanted to share her experience as a cautionary tale. She hopes that the community will follow social distancing guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus.

"I got sick pretty early on, and I could tell that the hospital was just rushing around and trying to deal with this as it comes and if everybody isn't social distancing you can be sick and not even know it. You can be a carrier of this virus and have no idea, so people could be running around feeling great and spreading this virus and the hospital will just never be able to keep up and that's really scary," said Braun.

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