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Column: COVID makes its stop at the Casas household
Shannon Casas
Shannon Casas

It’s July 2022 and here I am working from home, surrounded by my family, none of us leaving the house except for essentials.

Yes, COVID is still here. And it’s finally made its appearance at my house.

Funny enough, it’s not me or my husband with the symptoms but one of the kids. 

Sore throat, congestion and a nap at 6:30 p.m. amid the holiday weekend festivities — that’s how the virus showed up.

It was when he told me his French fry tasted funny that we gave him a test. 

Then it’s like we flashed back to 2020. We were at my parents’ place but now retreated to the garage apartment, donning our masks to receive food and medicine.

No hugs goodbye, just waves from a distance.

We went home and bought Lysol and realized we had no idea where most of our masks were. 

It wasn’t a drill this time, so we bought some Tylenol and set up patient zero with his own bedroom and bathroom. 

Now, it’s Day 5 here in COVID jail. 

There’s plenty of room for everyone, and so far the virus has been contained.

The food is good, though one of the inmates demands to eat capers each evening with his dinner — you know, those little lemony green balls that make a pasta dish special. Shredded cabbage with Italian dressing is also on his list of preferred dishes. You might think he’s the one with the tastebuds that aren’t working — he’s not.

There’s no limit on use of the TV while in confinement. Screen time rules have gone out the window, especially for patient zero.

We ordered some of those free government COVID tests and will be awaiting our results and then hopefully our release.

He has been pretty sick — moaning in pain from congestion in his ears, coughing and sleeping during the day — but nothing I would have known was anything other than a bad cold.

A few days in, he had enough energy to yell at his brother. That’s when I knew he was on the mend.

I can’t believe I’m still writing about COVID, though. I mean, it’s been a while, but still.

It’s killed at least 807 in Hall County, according to statistics from the Georgia Department of Public Health, which I hadn’t looked at in a while. For my family, it’s a minor inconvenience.

DPH shows an increasing wave of positive tests in July and numbers being treated at Northeast Georgia Health System are increasing, too, though at 42 as of July 1 that’s a far cry from the height of the pandemic and numbers surging above 350. 

The data seems to show plenty of people are getting it, but fewer are being hospitalized. That’s my anecdotal experience, too.

Then again, with so many at-home tests, the number testing positive is likely underreported. This virus has been tracked more than an Amazon package. Maybe we can stop now? Or have we stopped already? I’m pretty sure that contact tracing stuff is up to us now.

Can we just treat it like a cold yet? Should we be masking and isolating when we get a cold? Does the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have a calculator to tell me when it’s safe to go outside after the flu?

Is anyone else wearing their mask after someone tells them they tested positive?

The CDC says that after exposure, I can still go about my business but with a mask. 

Patient Zero can after 6 days and improving symptoms, the CDC calculator tells me.

A week at home is a heck of a lot better than that shelter in place business of spring 2020.

But it seems the whole world has long COVID — that nagging cough that just won’t go away, the exhaustion that we’re all so tired of and still at least a little dose of fear we can’t seem to shake.

Shannon Casas is editor in chief of The Times and a North Hall resident.