BOSTON (CBS) — Photographer Lara Woolfson considers herself a healthy person but she caught coronavirus while doing her job.
Woolfson worked at a Biogen conference in Boston at the end of February. Her coronavirus diagnosis has been one of at least 99 cases in the state that were connected with the conference.
“I caught this virus very easily, I wasn’t being reckless, I wasn’t behaving any differently than I normally behave at work photographing an event. I was able to catch this very easily,” Woolfson said.
A few days after the conference, Wooflson noticed a small, dry cough, but it was “nothing I ever would have called a doctor about and it actually went away for a few days,” she said. After reading an article about three coronavirus cases connected to the conference, she called her doctor.
“I thought maybe I was overreacting but I just wanted to be responsible and safe,” Woolfson explained.
She was shocked when the doctor asked her to put on a mask and winter gloves, and drive to the ambulance bay at Mount Auburn Hospital. First, they took her temperature, revealing she had a 101 fever. She was tested for the flu and when that came back negative, she gave a nose and throat swab for the coronavirus test.
When she went to the ER, Woolfson said, “I was feeling that feeling you get right before you get sick. Maybe a little sinus pressure, maybe a little bit just uncomfortable body aches.”
Just one day later, things were much worse: “I had a very serious fever I was having the chills, I was hot I was cold. One of my, what I felt like was my biggest symptoms was just the sheer exhaustion,” she said.
What was supposed to be a 48-hour wait for test results turned into five days. “Even though my name was on a list of attendees at the conference there seemed to be some sort of confusion and my test had been put in the wrong pile, in the pile that hadn’t gotten permission to be tested,” Woolfson said. “Five of the longest days of my life.”
She was bedridden for a week, even simple tasks like taking a shower were exhausting. She experienced chest tightness for the first time in her life, had no appetite and her fever persisted for a week.
While sick, Woolfson took DayQuil and NyQuil regularly and tried to practice the best flu and cold practices: sleeping a lot and staying hydrated.
A nurse from the Department of Public Health checked in every day, noted her symptoms and kept her in the loop about the latest CDC developments, Woolfston told WBZ-TV.
“It was a long week and I think the added anxiety and the added lack of information and unknown can really have an effect as well,” Woolfson said.
She warned, “Head the advice, take this very seriously, there’s a reason they’ve asked us to socially distance ourselves. If you’re experiencing any kind of symptoms you should be quarantined until you’re no longer experiencing those symptoms.”
Even though Woolfson has been cleared by the DPH, she hasn’t been able to work because of social distancing and the temporary ban on gatherings.
“We’re all in the same boat, we’re going to weather this storm together,” she said.