My cough has subsided a little from my bout with COVID-19 and my thinking has become a little clearer about things that have happened since Wednesday morning when I was tested.

(The picture with this was taken today; I changed my shirt.)

Contact tracing is happening where people who test positive for the virus are contacted by health department representatives to find out where you caught the virus and who you may have spread it to.

With thousands of cases, it’s a wonder how they do it. And in my case, I think they have it wrong.

I had the sniffles last weekend and chalked it up to the fall hay fever I get every year. By Tuesday I had a scratchy throat, which is also part of my fall pattern.

I woke up Wednesday morning with a headache and muscle ache, but I didn’t put the pieces together. I took Tylenol, a pain reliever, and Motrin, an anti-inflammation medication, for back pain. I also took a Claritin for my allergy and got back into bed.

Sarah woke up on Wednesday feeling badly herself. She took her temperature twice over a half-hour and it registered as normal. She questioned whether the thermometer was functioning, so I tested it on myself.

That’s how I found out I had a fever—100.5 degrees (F) a half hour after taking two fever reducers.

We went to urgent care at CCHC and were tested. They gave us two tests, a fast-acting version that would give a mostly reliable result in about an hour, and a more reliable test that would take a few days to get back from the lab. Both involve the collection of nose mucus using cotton swabs.

An hour later, a nurse practitioner called me with the results of the fast test.

She said she was surprised, but that Sarah was positive and I was negative. From my fever and other symptoms, she was sure I would be the one who was positive. She advised me to assume I was and wait for the official results in a few days.

My theory is that the Claritin dried me up and that the sample was too small for the fast-acting test to register a positive.

We were both told to isolate ourselves and by later that day Sarah received a call from a contact tracer. Both of us were in a fog that day and she has little memory of the conversation.

I received a call, too, this one informing me that I was exposed and requesting permission to send me texts.

My texts started arriving Wednesday and continued through today, all letting me know that I may have come in contact with a COVID-19 case and asking me questions about any symptoms I have and whether I could isolate myself and have access to a doctor and groceries.

Sarah started receiving texts the next day asking about our children. They don’t ask about her.

On Friday, I got the result of the second test. It showed that I had COVID-19. Later that day, a contact tracer called me and asked me questions, but not the one I expected: where might I have caught the virus.

I guess based on their records, they assume that I caught the virus from Sarah, when probably the reverse is true.

The upshot is that Craven County recorded 19 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, one of which was Sarah. On Friday, the state recorded 1,759 new cases (county numbers aren’t available yet), one of which is me.

Government records seem to conclude that Sarah both caught it from me and gave it to me.

As for where I caught it, it’s anyone’s guess. The time from exposure to first symptoms can be two days to two weeks.

Ours are just two of dozens of cases last week in Craven County, but it does make me wonder about the accuracy of the numbers that are being reported.

As for whether the minors in our household are positive, we don’t know. We’re all under isolation and can’t take them to be tested.

Craven County releases local COVID-19 numbers five days a week. On Monday, the report includes weekend totals for new cases and new deaths from over the weekend.

Sources of exposure are reported only Monday through Friday. They fall into these categories: out-of-state travel, known sources, community-spread, unknown, and under investigation.

They recently added a new category: Unknown.


  1. Thanks for sharing your experience and I hope you’re both feeling better soon.
    Do you think your initial contact was asymptomatic?
    I was shopping at a new, very large grocery store in NB very early this morning and tried to stay away from the mask-less shoppers – back to online shopping at a different store.

  2. Thanks for the details. It surprises me it took you so long to recognize the COVID, and I am happy you seem to have caught it in time. Whew! What a surreal time.

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