By Patric Hedlund, TME
Startling news circulated last week about a new case of covid-19 in Pine Mountain Club.
Misunderstanding occurred because the original notes on Facebook and in a PMCPOA email blast provided incomplete information.
The Mountain Enterprise sought out and spoke directly with the person who worked at the Pine Mountain Club polling place on Tuesday, Nov. 3. It was not until Monday, Nov. 9 that a positive covid-19 test result was received.
The individual was eager to tell all the facts, but wishes to remain anonymous because of the misunderstanding caused by the way PMCPOA circulated the news initially.
We will refer to the person here as “RN”— for Responsible Neighbor. When RN volunteered at the polls Tuesday, Nov. 3, they had no hint of being ill, we were told.
The longtime PMC resident wore a mask while working at the Pine Mountain Christian Community Church Annex polling place.
The volunteer did not feel strange on Wednesday or Thursday either. But coughing began on Friday, Nov. 6.
RN has watched and read “everything about the right way to proceed” regarding this pandemic, we were told, so they quickly got into their car, mask ready.
“When I came down with symptoms on Friday, I immediately went down to Kaiser in Bakersfield to get a covid test,” RN said. “It was three days of coughing and choking and sneezing. On the third day I got chills. It was like the flu.” Despite being of an age that is targeted as high risk, RN began to feel better on Monday, just when the results of the test confirmed positive for covid-19.
Our neighbor added that they had no idea where they may have contracted the virus.
Incubation time for covid-19 is typically 3 to 14 days. Symptoms typically arise within four to five days after exposure. A person may be contagious two to three days prior to showing symptoms. That means there is a 50-50 chance RN was unknowingly contagious on November 3. There is also a slim chance that RN contracted the virus from someone else at the polls that day.
So, RN felt ill on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. On Monday, Nov. 9—six days after the election—the test results came in.
On Nov. 9, RN contacted the Kern County Elections Board to help define ballots she had touched, and called volunteer coordinators and PMCPOA General Manager Karin Shulman about the test results.
RN is in quarantine at home, feeling strong again. When we spoke on Tuesday, Nov. 10, there was no cough at all during our 25-minute conversation.
One poll volunteer complained to this reporter that no one called to alert her.
The Mountain Enterprise systematically asks everyone we interview if they have been called by a Kern County covid contact tracer. We have yet to encounter evidence that contact-tracing is in effect through the Kern County Department of Public Health, despite assurances by a spokesperson that it is.
Relax. Then Go Get Tested
The best advice to anyone who feels they may have been exposed? Relax and then go get tested. Alert those with whom you have come into contact and suggest they also go for tests.
Wear a mask.
Wash your hands frequently.
Stay isolated until you have your test results back. Please go to pages 9 and 11 (in the print issue) for details on getting tested this week.
This is part of the November 13, 2020 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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