DAVIS COUNTY – The COVID-19 virus has been especially hard on a Bountiful family of eight. Their mother says practically all of them have either tested positive or they’re showing symptoms of infection. She’s especially frustrated at how hard it has been to get some family members tested.
Sarah Sharp isn’t exactly sure who became infected first. It could have been her 12-year-old daughter, who was the first member of the family to show illness. That happened on March 12th.
“It was a light cough. It was, basically, just like a cold,” Sharp says. “I had no reason to believe she had anything other than a cold. I started my symptoms on the 13th or the 14th, just like I would think I have a regular cold.”
Or, it could have been their oldest daughter, who recently returned from serving a mission in Germany for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Sharp says her daughter was definitely exposed to COVID-19 in an institute class.
She says, “Madison, our missionary, had no symptoms other than a slight sore throat. Our 17-year-old had no symptoms, whatsoever.”
The real problem is that no one seemed to have all of the symptoms doctors were looking for when it comes to COVID-19. At that time, Sharp says doctors needed people to have a cough, fever, a recent history of travel and known contact with a potentially infected person. Since no one matched all of those qualifications, getting tested was an extreme challenge. Sharp says doctors reluctantly tested her oldest daughter after explaining they knew she was exposed to coronavirus.
Sharp herself couldn’t get a test, even though she was showing more of the symptoms than the rest of her family. One of her sons still doesn’t appear to be sick, but, he was surrounded by infected people for several weeks.
“Three weeks later, and he still hasn’t gotten sick. We’re just going to say he’s probably going to remain asymptomatic. But, he most definitely lived in a home with seven active COVID cases,” Sharp says.
Until recently, state health officials say there were serious problems with testing people who aren’t showing symptoms. They say this can lead to false positive results. However, the state government has recently partnered with private labs and tech companies to dramatically increase the number of testing facilities. Now, state leaders say anyone who is concerned about their health can take a five-minute assessment survey so doctors can determine who needs to be examined.
In the meantime, Sharp says she still has a lot of questions. Were her family members accidentally spreading the virus while they felt fine? Were people under the false impression they just had a cold instead of COVID-19? Are there other symptoms she needs to look out for?
“I think the biggest thing to remember is you have to treat the symptoms you see in front of you,” Sharp says.