BROWNSVILLE — Kimberly Dale, who recently tested positive for COVID-19, said she did not have all the symptoms that are connected to coronavirus.
She wasn’t coughing and had no fever. She only had a weird rash on her arms and belly and what felt like allergies that she thought were because of the weather constantly changing.
“Where I work, I work outside and then I go inside the building, and it’s so cold, so I started getting some allergies and I was like, ‘Oh my God, I never suffer from allergies,’ and my coworkers were also feeling that way,” she said. “But then my throat started to hurt and I said, ‘now I am really going to get sick’ and something told me to just go and get checked because it is better to be safe than sorry.”
Dale, who is in her 40s and had no underlying conditions, got tested on April 10, just a few days after she lost her sense of smell and taste. Then, on April 13, she tested positive. She thinks she got infected in the community since she hasn’t been outside of Brownsville for a month.
As of Thursday afternoon, there were 254 COVID-19 cases reported in Cameron County. The total COVID-19 cases for the Rio Grande Valley — also as of Thursday afternoon — was 478.
Dale said before getting any symptoms she was practicing social distancing and following the recommendations from elected officials for weeks by wearing face masks when she used to go to the grocery store and at work. Now that she tested positive, she and her family do not leave the house at any time.
“I think I got it in my community. Last time I went to Matamoros was early March and even then I was wearing a mask and gloves,” she said. “But I started getting symptoms the first week of April and in [March] I was fine, I had no symptoms and right now I can’t smell anything and I can’t even taste the food.”
Cameron County Judge Eddie Trevino Jr. and Brownsville Mayor Trey Mendez both signed orders that mandated all residents wear facial masks while in public. The orders took effect on April 13. Prior to the order, Trevino had recommended members of the public wear facial coverings. He has also issued a “shelter in place order.”
Dale said it is important to practice social distancing and for people to self isolate if they have any symptoms, even if they think it’s only allergies. She said even in her own house, the whole family is practicing social distancing by not being close together and wearing face masks while in communal areas.
She is sleeping in the guest room to keep her family safe and said they are waiting for the test results of those who live with her. She said she recommends families to air out their house every day by opening all the windows and doors for at least an hour while spraying disinfectant inside.
Dale added she is not on any medication but drinks a lot of water and takes vitamin C. She hopes those who can will stay at home so the high-risk population doesn’t get the coronavirus.
“I think it affects people very differently. People that their immune system is low are at higher risk of getting the virus more aggressive,” she said. “I don’t have underlying conditions so the doctor told me to stay home and not leave for 14 days.”
In a previous interview, Mendez said several studies are showing that coronavirus will peak in Texas around May 6 and that at that point projections show that things will get much worse. He added that the easiest and most effective thing we can do to stop the spread is to stay home as much as possible.
“The more that our citizens follow the shelter in place order, the sooner we will be able to hopefully return to our daily lives. While many individuals have had the good fortune of not getting sick or not having any of their friends or family members get sick, they are certainly not immune,” he said.
“The virus has proven to be highly contagious and affects both the young and old. Our citizens should take every precaution necessary to protect themselves and their loved ones; the easiest and most effective thing we can do is stay home as much as possible.”