This is one time I needed to be negative

  • Kurt Johnson
    Kurt Johnson

“You tested positive for COVID-19.”
Those are words nobody wants to here in 2020. Unfortunately, this global pandemic found its way to Hamilton County early on, impacting many people’s lives directly and disrupting countless others in various ways, including my own. 
For months now we’ve been deluged with case counts, protocol updates and health forecasts 24/7 on all forms of media. It’s an overwhelming topic some days, constantly weaving its way into casual conversation with friends or even complete strangers. Nine months later, COVID-19 just won’t go away.
Though we’re all sick of talking about it, this pandemic takes on a whole different twist when a positive case report has your name on it. Despite all my mask wearing and best efforts to avoid potential exposure, I too joined the list of  COVID carriers last week.
My initial reaction was shock and denial. I had hesitated to even get tested, not wanting to waste others’ time or resources. I had a slight sore throat and a little congestion, but assumed that came from raking leaves on a damp Saturday afternoon. I was wrong.
Reluctantly, I got tested and two days later joined a long list of friends and a co-worker who were sent home on quarantine with little notice and more questions than answers. How did I get this virus? Where did I get this virus? How is it going to impact my health, and my wife Paula’s, now and in the future? 
The good news is that Paula tested negative and my symptoms were minimal. I noticed some slight fatigue, minor aches and a lack of focus, but otherwise had no symptoms or difficulty breathing. Other than going a little stir crazy for 10 days, my COVID quarantine experience wasn’t horrible.
Extended isolation at home gives you a lot of time to think about this pandemic paradigm. It’s an odd, uncomfortable sensation knowing we are living through an epic health crisis, with the final chapter still yet to be written. History books may tell us what could have/should have been done differently, but for now our real-time reality is still smacking us in the face with restricted interactions, and for some life-threatening illness.
As part of my day job, I interviewed local citizens and health care administrators recently, learning that many of our elderly friends have said they would rather die from COVID-19 than continue living in isolation without access to family and friends (See front page story). Those words shook me to the core. 
I was frustrated with my quarantine, but feel selfish when realizing that this pandemic is having such a devastating affect on people right here in my hometown. I know now that you don’t have to do ANYTHING wrong to get COVID-19, and that with or without it people’s lives and confidence can be shaken. 
There is hope now of a light at the end of this tunnel with a vaccine on the horizon, but until then a little perspective goes a long way. I’m just going to take a deep breath, and be glad that I can.
KURT JOHNSON can be reached at kjohnson@

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