Family shares coronavirus experience
Billy and Rachel Horsman, Luverne, are grateful their coronavirus symptoms weren’t as bad as those often associated with the deadly illness.
He contracted it from co-workers at his Sioux Falls manufacturing job, and she got it from him, both of them reporting allergy-like symptoms with a headache and body aches, and only for a few days.
Billy said he got tested because his symptoms were like those of several co-workers who had tested positive for the virus.
“My work has been very concerned with the virus and we are taking all the precautions to avoid the spread of it,” he said. “This shows how easily it is spread, even with caution and following the recommended guidelines.”
His symptoms started Wednesday, April 15, with a small cough. By Sunday, April 19, he noticed body aches and a mild headache, but no fever. By Tuesday, April 21, he said he felt normal and his temperature remained at 97 degrees the whole time.
His results were sent to the State of South Dakota, which contacted him and asked about everyone he’d been in contact with.
“Yes I was scared,” he said about his reaction to the news. “I was scared of my wife or kids getting it and something terrible happening.”
In particular, he was worried about their infant son, Cullen, born on March 11, with respiratory complications that kept him in NICU for 15 days.
But they were also concerned about their other young sons, Ezra and Eli.
“We took temperatures multiple times a day and monitored all the kids for symptoms,” Billy said. “If any of them did get Covid-19, they didn't show any symptoms.”
Because Cullen was born with meconium aspiration and was on oxygen for a couple of weeks, Rachel was especially anxious about protecting him.
“I remember the first few days after Billy was confirmed, I couldn’t sleep because I’d obsess about checking his oxygen to make sure it was OK,” Rachel said.
When she came down with it, tests were still in short supply and doctors told her to assume she was positive and they both quarantined at home for two weeks.
With so few other cases in the community, both she and Billy said it was difficult to admit they’d tested positive.
“There seems to be such a negative stigma already if you catch it, even though it’s a brand new virus and really anyone can catch or spread it,” Rachel said.
“I felt ashamed and didn't really want to tell anyone, but once I started, everyone was super supportive and accepting,” Billy said.
“I’m just happy I’m on maternity leave because I’m a nurse at the Tuff Home in Hills and I would’ve felt terrible if I unintentionally spread it before we showed symptoms,” Rachel said.
“But it’s been an isolating maternity leave and hard not being able to introduce Cullen to family. I feel for other moms that are having babies through this.”
While their symptoms were mild, they said it’s important for people to understand that coronavirus can be present in many different ways, and because it’s a new virus, there are so many things doctors and scientists don’t know about it.
“People should be aware that they aren’t always severe symptoms,” Rachel said. “We were very lucky to only have symptoms similar to a cold or allergies with some body aches. But that’s the thing, they can be so mild and make it seem like it’s masking the illness.”
As of noon on Tuesday, there were 18 cases of coronavirus reported in Rock County. See the related story for the latest updates on local response.