Editor’s Note: The names in this story have been changed to protect the privacy of the family during this trying time.
By Aaron Allen, The Seattle Medium
This Thanksgiving and holiday season is one that Charles Jones will never forget. During a time, when families get together, break bread and share stories of good times, Jones and his family will be busy quarantining themselves from one another in an effort to prevent COVID-19 from spreading to family members throughout the house.
The dilemma began a few weeks ago when Jones’ youngest son, 15, a highly recruited football player, contracted COVID-19 from a teammate during workouts to get ready for the upcoming season.
According to Jones, he recently allowed his son to participate in team practices as things, as it related to the spread of COVID-19 in the area, appeared to be getting better. Although the threat was still real, Jones could see the anxiety of his son wanting to return to the football field and practice with his teammates as scholarships offers started coming through the door.
Jones knew in the back of his mind that this was not a good choice but gave into his son’s desire to get out there and regain some semblance of normalcy, and with the assurance of the school’s sports program to adhere to strict health guidelines the father succumbed.
“I can kick myself,” say Jones. “Initially I wasn’t in support of him doing any training with the team or at a training facility but during the summer things slowed down a little and he was getting depressed so I gave in.”
Practices were set up in pods and social distancing was to be adhered to during the workouts but to Jones it still seemed risky.
“It was supposed to be done safely in controlled practices and pods,” said Jones. “They were doing study groups and then practice in pods and apparently one of the players was exposed to COVID, exposed it to another player, who exposed it to my son.”
On November 12, Jones’ said his son began showing signs of fatigue and a few days later he had a fever. They called his pediatrician for advice and was told to quarantine. With six family members living in his home, including some with pre-existing conditions, Jones scrambled to prepare his house for quarantine.
A couple of days later the son began showing signs of recovery but because of his wife’s pre-existing condition, a chronic brain disorder and a young nephew staying with them it was essential that the quarantine run its course for the entire household.
“On Thursday, he began showing signs of fatigue that lasted up until that Tuesday,” says Jones. “On Wednesday, he got a fever and we thought maybe it was the flu so we called his pediatrician who said to rule out COVID you should get him tested.”
Jones took his son and himself to get tested. His son tested positive, while Jones’ test results came back negative. His wife was unable to be tested due to her condition but the doctors advised the family not to take things for granted and assume that the entire household has been affected.
“We had to assume that the entire household was positive,” said Jones. “So, we’ve been called to quarantine which is discouraging. It’s like you’re in survival mode in a war zone, trying to figure out who has the strength to do work, provide food, resources, make sure everyone is hydrated, cleaning supplies. It is a task, a very serious task and I don’t wish it on anyone.”
According to the CDC, while fewer children have been sick with COVID-19 compared to adults, children can be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, can get sick from COVID-19, and can spread the virus that causes COVID-19 to others. Children, like adults, who have COVID-19 but have no symptoms (“asymptomatic”) can still spread the virus to others.
While Jones will spend this Thanksgiving trying to keep his family safe and healthy, his message to friends and family is to recognize that we are still in a pandemic and the possibility of contracting COVID-19 is real.
“My plans moving forward is to continue to trust God and definitely have to live with a lot more precaution,” says Jones. “We are going to have to almost live a quarantined life until we can see that this thing is scaling down or there is some hope or real possibility for a cure. So, the goal is to educate my family, friends and the community about this situation, because it is very real.”