SAINT GEORGE – The novel cornoavirus is keeping a St. George couple half a world away from each other. One man is among the group of Americans quarantined at Travis Air Force Base in California, while his wife is isolated in a Japanese hospital.
Jerri Jorgensen started feeling ill a few days before their Diamond Princess cruise was scheduled to end. She and her husband, Mark, both were tested for the virus at the same time and her test came back positive. His didn’t.
Since then, Mark says his wife is feeling better, physically. Emotionally, that’s a different story.
“Her fever has gone away and she feels fine. The biggest challenge now is the isolation. She’s just in there and nobody speaks English, at all,” Jorgensen says.
Jorgensen believes his wife is in good hands, but, it’s hard to know what to think about his wife’s health. He says it appears no one truly understand the virus very well.
“There’s a two percent mortality rate so far on this, so, I don’t think she’s in danger. But, it definitely is hard being away from her and I feel really bad she’s having such a rough time there,” he says, adding, “I’m not panicked, but, it is up in the air as far as when we’ll get together.”
Jorgensen was given two options. He could stay in Japan to be closer to his wife, or, he could travel with other Americans who would be quarantined at Travis Air Force Base in California. However, he says the US government told him if he decided to stay in Japan, they weren’t sure when he’d be allowed to come back.
He says, “If I stayed in Japan, I couldn’t be with her. I would just be somewhere else and we would be talking by phone, anyway. So, I can do that from California.”
Jorgensen says they’re trying to make the best of being apart. He describes the conditions at the base being similar to that of a hotel, although, everyone is being kept a good distance away from the rest of the homes there.
“They just fenced it off and we’ve got our own little leper colony, here,” he says.
Both of them will be quarantined until at least the end of the month, when the virus incubation period ends.
Jorgensen the second Utahn to test positive. John Haering was taken off the ship roughly 24 hours before she was.