Barry Franklin was shocked to read that all 13 COVID-19 cases in Greenup County had recovered, considering his coronavirus-stricken, isolating wife was in another room in the house.
The Greenup County Health Department had announced all 13 patients had recovered in its daily report on May 19.
The Danleyton couple has had a long, arduous battle with COVID-19, dating back to early April. Barry Franklin, 55, has tested positive twice and Patricia Franklin, 56, has had three positive tests. A fourth one, conducted Friday, yielded negative results — she received that report Tuesday afternoon.
“We’ve really been through an ordeal, confined to the house for a month and a half,” said Barry, who’d just come inside from doing some chainsaw work. He’s still dealing with some shortness of breath, but the symptoms aren’t nearly as severe.
He took Patricia Franklin to King’s Daughters Medical Center over Memorial Day weekend. She spent two nights there before being released Monday.
“There was inflammation in the cartilage between her ribs, which they said was in direct relation to the coronavirus,” Barry Franklin said.
He said they experienced a bevy of symptoms in addition to breathing trouble, including fever, body aches and losing their sense of smell and taste.
Mr. Franklin got sick on April 8. Mrs. Franklin was “a little bit sick,” he said, the weekend prior. They both went for a nasal-swab test in Grayson on April 10. They were tested twice in Grayson before going to the King’s Daughters primary care facility in Russell for the third test. Franklin said the second and third tests were throat swabs. Patricia’s fourth test took place in Russell, too.
In April, Patricia developed a blood clot in her left calf. The clot occurred as a result of the coronavirus, doctors told Barry, according to Barry.
Barry Franklin dealt with pain in his shoulders and under his arms, he said.
“Two years ago, I broke my right foot,” he said. “Three weeks ago, my foot hurt so bad, I went to the hospital to have an X-ray. They told me they couldn’t see anything wrong with my foot, but they said this virus can attack anything on your body that’s weak.”
Chris Crum, Greenup County Health Department’s director, could not comment specifically on the Franklins’ situation because of HIPAA laws. He did acknowledge patients may test positive multiple times. He also said once someone is listed as recovered, which is typically based on a 14-day period following a negative test, they can’t be “unrecovered.”
According to Barry Franklin, Patricia never tested negative.
If a person does test negative, the patient is listed as recovered once the regional epidemiologist in Pikeville relays that information to the health department. Some don’t get retested, Crum said.
If a person is considered “recovered,” he or she won’t drop out of that category even if the patient tests positive following initial recovery. The person also won’t be listed as a new case.
“People have tested negative, and then positive again after that,” Crum said. “It is possible for someone to be listed as recovered and actually have a positive test. It makes it difficult to relay that information.”
Crum also noted some workplaces will bring back employees who have tested positive but are symptom-free. Those workplaces are also properly equipped to thwart the spread of the virus.
Crum said the health department, and medical experts across the country, are continuously learning more about this virus.
“The longer we go, the more we’re going to know,” he said.
Barry Franklin was just glad his wife received a negative result Tuesday. He hopes their six-week-long tussle with COVID-19 is over.
“I’m ready to get things started up and get the economy going,” said the self-employed excavation worker. “People just need to practice safety.”
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