The symptoms of COVID-19 hit Nicole Wiederrich, an Edgeley resident, hard and are still bothering her three weeks later.
"On Sept. 25, I had the first symptoms and was tested the following Monday," she said. "I had sinus problems, stomach stuff, loss of taste, I had them all."
In a matter of days, the disease had also infected her 17-year-old son, her boyfriend and her sister.
The son recovered quickly, the boyfriend was hospitalized in Dickinson in intensive care and on oxygen for five days and was recently released from the hospital.
"He is still in isolation," Wiederrick said. "It takes time for his body to recover."
Kent Diehl, an emergency department physician at Jamestown Regional Medical Center, said initial symptoms for people with COVID-19 can vary.
"That is the problem, it is kind of sneaky," he said. "There are so many symptoms from G.I. (gastrointestinal) to sore throats to fever. Ultimately, it migrates to primarily being a respiratory disease in about a week."
Diehl said early testing at the start of symptoms may not come back positive for the coronavirus.
"Typically tests would indicate positive within first three to four days," he said.
Treatment varies depending on the general health of the patient, Diehl said. "If you don't have any comorbidity, treatment is likely quarantine and treating the symptoms," he said.
Comorbidity, other health problems, could include asthma or other respiratory diseases, diabetes, obesity and heart disease, among other health concerns.
The situation gets serious when hypoxia, low levels of oxygen in the blood, set in.
"That is when we transfer them to Fargo to the COVID unit," Diehl said. "Every day, we are transferring someone who is critically ill to Fargo and the COVID unit."
Wiederrick said she toughed it out at home.
"There were a number of times I should have gone to the hospital," she said. "I was so proud when I could walk down the hall without hanging on to the wall to stay up."
Wiederrick is working remotely at her job as a paraprofessional for the Edgeley School District. She said she is confined to her home not to prevent the spread of the virus but to allow her to recover. She credits the assistance and support of friends and family and the cooperation of the Edgeley School District with helping get through the ordeal.
"I still feel a little wonky three weeks after I was diagnosed," she said.
She is also vigilant about protecting herself from other health problems.
"I followed the precautions before I became ill and continue to wear masks now," she said. "If I were to get the flu on top of this, it wouldn't be good."
Contract tracing was unable to determine how Wiederrick had contracted the disease.
Diehl said preventing the spread of the coronavirus is better than any available treatment.
"Prevention is the best treatment," he said. "There is no controversy in the science of mask-wearing, only a political controversy."
Wiederrick said there are still unknowns in the future. "Nobody seems to know when it will go away or if there are long-term effects," she said. "You just wait it out."
Diehl said he wanted the community to know that there is a lot of coronavirus cases currently in the area and precautions by the public can help slow the spread.
"People need to take this seriously," he said. "Mask up and stop the spread."