A Green Country mom said it felt like a punch in the gut when she learned her daughter had tested positive for COVID-19.
She said as a family they've taken every precaution they could because they know their family is part of the vulnerable population.
But on April 28, three-year old Lincoln Pool started coughing.
"It was nothing very concerning until bedtime when her cough turned into more of a bark, and she started coughing a lot more," said mom Lauren George, adding that as a family they're not strangers to navigating the unexpected as Lincoln's diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy and Epilepsy have thrown a fair share of curveballs.
"The next day, Thursday, she woke up with a low grade fever and an awful cough. I called the pediatrician and they wanted to see her. We went in and her right lung was full of pneumonia, which I found odd because she's only been coughing for 12 hours at this point."
She learned the pediatrician didn't offer COVID-19 testing, so she loaded Lincoln up and went to OU for a drive-thru test.
"Friday, May 1, we went to Lincoln's test at 8:55 a.m., which was a very eerie experience. There was a police checkpoint, a password to get through, all of the PPE...it was just bizarre," she recalled, adding that Lincoln displayed the same symptoms, coughing, fatigue, low fever and no appetite, over the weekend.
She said the weekend came and went with no word from the health department.
"OU said results would be in 24-72 hours and that the state would call me, that OU would never get the results. I call Tulsa Health Department, who informed me that they do nothing over the weekend so those days didn’t count toward those quoted times. This is mind blowing to me. We’re in the middle of a global pandemic. I expect testing and results to be happening around the clock. We went back to the pediatrician because her breathing seemed worse, but her chest X-ray was exactly the same as Thursday. Not better, but not worse."
Tuesday was more of the same—no word, no change in symptoms.
"Wednesday, May 6, I was awoken by a call from the state epidemiologist office. They wanted to do tracing and go over all of Lincoln’s symptoms, because there are so few kids that have been tested so this is still very new to them as well. They informed me that the state had her results Tuesday morning, so I still don’t understand why we weren’t called Tuesday morning, but oh well," she said. "We were advised to isolate and continue isolating until 14 days have passed since her last symptom, which has yet to happen. We were also told if anyone else in our home starts to experience symptoms, it’s okay to assume we are positive and we aren’t required to be tested. This is also insane to me. How will the numbers ever be accurate if we aren’t encouraging testing for people with symptoms? I do have all of the symptoms so I will be tested today, because I feel like it’s my civic duty."
Lauren described the entire testing process—especially hearing confirmation from the epidemiologist rather than the health department—incredibly frustrating.
"Lives are on hold during the testing process. My family specifically was unaffected by the time it took, because we’re fortunate enough to not need to leave, but I can’t imagine being in a household where people have to leave for work. Your life is quite literally on hold, and to know they aren’t calling as soon as they have results seems very frustrating."
She said the positive diagnosis came as a blow as her whole family has been diligent in practicing social distancing, staying home, and adhering to CDC guidelines.
"We’ve done everything we’re supposed to be doing and having two immunocompromised kids makes us much more careful in general, so my stomach sank," she said, adding that it was disheartening to share the news with her family, including her three sons. "The boys understand quite a bit, because this isn’t something totally new to them. Of course, coronavirus is new, but the concept of “don’t be in sissy’s face or get close because it’s sick season' is not. Our 4-year old keeps asking if corona season will ever end, though, so he’s struggling with being cooped up at home."
Lauren said she's struggling to deal with misinformation and people not taking coronavirus seriously.
"I believe the threat has only just begun here. My message is that coronavirus may not affect you, and you may think it is no big deal, but it could mean death for your neighbor. Stay diligent and proactive in protecting the people who it is a threat to, because that’s why we’re working so hard to slow the spread. Coronavirus will probably look like a mild cold for me, but it could mean death for my grandpa or an ICU stay for my son or daughter with weak lungs. Wear a mask, wash your hands, and stop
Lauren said she's seen firsthand what a fighter Lincoln is, so she's positive about the outcome of this positive test result.
"The treatment plan is basically wait it out. We’re treating the pneumonia with breathing treatments as needed but there’s no current at home treatment for coronavirus," she said. "Lincoln has stayed in good spirits 90% of the time which we are super thankful for and I anticipate that she will be able to fully recover at home. She's a tough girl."