OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Laura Woolfson was one of the first patients to test positive for COVID-19 in the state of Massachusetts. She's recovered but says the virus was unlike anything she's experienced.
"The actual physical symptoms, that is the most sick that I have ever been in my whole life," Woolfson said. "I'm 36 years-old, I'm healthy, I eat well, I exercise everyday. I caught this so easily, and this took me down for eight full days without being able to get out of bed."
Woolfson started feeling sick a few days after attending a conference at the end of February. It started as a slight cough, and grew to a high fever, intense fatigue and shortness of breath.
"The best way I can explain it is, it started out as if I had just taken a run out in the cold and was having difficulty filling my chest with air," Woolfson said.
The physical symptoms lasted about 8 days, but Woolfson says the emotional impact still lingers. Not only was it scary for her, but she's felt a level of guilt and shame for possibly giving the virus to someone else.
"I called and emailed all of my clients, my friends, all of my colleagues that I have seen that week, and that was horrible," Woolfson said. "That was heartbreaking, because you know you're inflicting this anxiety and dread on people."
Despite these feelings, Woolfson knows it's the right thing to do.
She wants people to know the severity of the virus, and to take social distancing seriously.
"Things are about to get much, much worse for our country, and I can still look out my window from time to time and see groups of people walking down the streets with their dogs," Woolfson said. "We have had several known cases in our city for a month now, and we are just starting to take it seriously."
She believes because of lack of testing and other factors, hundreds of people, who may be asymptomatic and don't know they have it, are walking around exposing others to the virus.
"My call is for people to come together and do this hard thing and self quarantine," Woolfson said. "It's going to be stressful. It's going to be for a long time, but we have to do this because we love each other, and we don't know who your going to spread this too."
Now that Woolfson is recovered, she is concerned about the long term impacts. She wants to know if she's immune or if she can catch it again.
For now, she is self-isolating and plans to wait to ask these questions until nurses and doctors are no longer swamped with this pandemic.