Two elected officials from Jamestown continue to recover after having COVID-19 in recent weeks.

Sen. John Grabinger, D-Jamestown, said he managed to recover from the disease without requiring hospitalization.

Jamestown City Councilman Brian Kamlitz was recently released after five days of hospitalization in a COVID-19 unit in Fargo.

"I was working in the backyard tearing down a shed," Grabinger said. "That evening I had body aches, was stiff and sore and a headache."

WDAY logo
listen live
watch live
Newsletter signup for email alerts

When he didn't improve he went for a coronavirus test during the first week of September.

"Two days later I got the positive results," he said.

That result did not come as a complete surprise and he had been self-isolating prior to getting the test result. He said he was very concerned about the health of his wife who has had heart surgery and faces other health problems. She also tested positive for the coronavirus.

"My wife got through it, fortunately," Grabinger said. "We lost my aunt to the disease about two months ago."

Kamlitz said he first noticed a high fever that lasted about five days in the first part of October.

"The fever broke but I didn't get better," he said. "Body aches, chills continued."

On Monday, Oct. 9, his breathing became erratic and he was transported to a COVID-19 unit in Fargo where he was hospitalized for five days.

"They are short-staffed and undersupplied with resources," Kamlitz said. "I feel sorry for the nurses there."

Kamlitz is advocating for people to wear full face shields as a way to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

"I'm seeing more people wear face shields," he said. "You are less likely to touch your face or eyes."

Kamlitz said it is possible he came in contact with the coronavirus by touching an infected surface and then touching his face.

"It will be a tough sale," he said, referring to convincing more people to wear shields. "But a full face covering would be best."

Kamlitz is also advocating for additional assistance for the hospitals treating COVID-19 cases.

"With the numbers continuing to climb, we better get some more resources for those COVID units," he said.

Grabinger used his position in the North Dakota Senate to make a motion requiring face masks at the upcoming legislative session. The motion passed the Legislative Procedures and Arrangement Committee and will be considered in the legislative organizational session.

Along with a mask mandate, members of the Legislature will consider testing twice a week using technology that provides results in minutes rather than days.

"My point is we all come together in this," he said. "There are 191 legislators, staff members, people who testify. There are probably 400 people involved and many of the legislators are in the upper age group. Some have underlying health conditions. We'd lose people."

Grabinger said the Legislature will also consider a hybrid session with members dispersed rather than at desks in the legislative chambers.

"Each legislator would have his own cubicle in the Capitol," he said. "From there they can take in meetings and have discussions. Having all of them on the floor of the Legislature, well, that would not be good."

In the meantime, both men say they continue to recover.

Grabinger said his sense of smell has not returned and he tires easily even just walking at work.

Kamlitz attended the Jamestown City Council and committee meetings Thursday evening by telephone.

"I'm still trying to recover," he said.