More than one third of Virginia’s health districts are now seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases, including in Fairfax County and the area around Fredericksburg.
A key person in one of those health departments is among those getting hit
with a recent infection.
As the public information officer for a Northern Virginia health department, Mary Chamberlin guided the community and reporters through every stage
of the pandemic. She followed the advice too— wearing a mask and getting vaccinated.
But on April 21 she was hit with a crushing headache and fever.
She tested negative for COVID-19 and influenza, but the next day her symptoms persisted. This time, she had cold symptoms.
A couple of days later: no taste or smell. She then got tested again, and the results were different.
“This time that second line came very quickly. I said ‘Oh dear, I have COVID,”‘ Chamberlin said.
Her husband had it too. Because of other medications they take, the couple
was not eligible for the highly effective anti-viral Paxlovid, but they did get a different one.
Chamberlin’s personal experience with COVID-19 has made her sharpen her message to the public all the more.
She admits she made a mistake, and that she should have re-tested sooner within 24 to 48 hours after the first test.
Chamberlin is still recovering and taking a steroid medication for COVID-19 bronchitis.
“I can’t imagine not being vaccinated and having this hit me because I just know I would have been in the hospital,” she said.
But she also wishes she’d made time to get the second booster too.
Mary says she’s been surprised to see the recent growth in COVID-19
University of Virginia’s projections show the Omicron sub-variants now taking hold are even more transmissible and could drive a summer surge that would peak in
July. Deaths, however, expected to be lower.
Chambelin recently received a negative COVID-19 test. Even so, she said she will be wearing a mask once she steps out into the community to play it safe.