WALNUT • "Coronavirus Hotline" is the greeting you might receive if you call Chad Bateman these days.
The Walnut Alderman and his wife, Jessica, were diagnosed with COVID-19 on Wednesday, March 25. Before he received the call confirming the diagnosis, he would have never believed he had the virus.
"The first thing that made me think I had the coronavirus was the test results yesterday," said Bateman on Thursday. "I would have bet you $1,000 I did not have the coronavirus."
The Batemans were tested at a facility in Alcorn County and it took six days to receive their results.
Bateman said he had allergy-like symptoms for several weeks and ran a low-grade fever last week before seeking treatment.
"I ran a low-grade fever last Wednesday and I went to the clinic because of that fever," said Bateman. "Most of my symptoms are allergy-like symptoms and a scratchy throat. All I have right now is a cough ... and it is not horrible. It feels like something is in my throat and every once in a while and I have to clear it."
Bateman said he did have a few nights with shortness of breath but other than that he chalked it up to sinuses.
"I was actually being treated for an upper respiratory infection," he continued. "We had an over the phone telehealth visit because no one is seeing patients in their clinics. I had been tested but I had not gotten the results so they were treating me for the upper respiratory infection like they do every year at this time."
Bateman said his wife hasn't experienced the same symptoms.
"From the beginning of this, my wife has not been able to smell. She has no smell. She hasn't been able to smell anything. Mine was a headache. I had a headache for close to two weeks. Just a dull headache until yesterday morning when I got up and my headache was gone and I haven't had one since."
Chad, 41, says he does have diabetes and asthma, two of the underlying conditions which make people more susceptible to the virus. However, he stresses those conditions are under control and he doesn't have to take medication for them. Jessica, 39, has no underlying conditions.
Both Chad and Jessica are quarantined at home with their two sons. Their 16-year-old is showing symptoms but their 12-year-old seems to be in the clear for now.
"They are treating my oldest son. They aren't going to test him. His mother and I are positive. He has symptoms like we have. My youngest son is showing no signs or symptoms of anything. He is quarantined to his room. He is fed in his room and he sprays us with Lysol when we come to his door."
The Batemans are being treated with antibiotics and Mucinex to keep respiratory secretions at a minimum.
"The doctors don't even really know how to treat this. It kind of freaked me out a little bit. They took us off all of our NSAIDs, like Voltaren, that we were taking. They said NSAIDs could cause pulmonary edema. So we quit taking all of our medicines with NSAIDs in them."
Bateman said he has been self quarantined for a week and only went out every few days for necessities, like food, before that. He said if it weren't for people hoarding he would not have had to go out so often before the quarantine.
"We did everything we could to not contract this virus. When I went out - because of the hoarders and the people who bought up everything that made me have to go to the store more times than I wanted to - I went out with PPE (personal protective equipment) masks, gloves and I still got it. I may have had it two weeks ago before it showed up. But if I had not gone and got tested, or my wife hadn't got tested, I would swear to you we did not have the coronavirus. Either it has not really hit us yet or we are really blessed.
Bateman says he and Jessica will be quarantined for a mandatory 14 to 21 days.
"My wife is a nurse and we have to have two negative tests before we can be cleared and she can go back to work. It could take 3-4 weeks for us to be cleared. She is a full-time nurse and I work paramedic once a month."
Bateman is also the pastor at Jesus Name Community Church in Ashland. He said his church went to online services last week and now he will be doing them from home. "We are not meeting at the church. We won't be in the building for a few weeks. I won't be there for several weeks," he continued.
Bateman said staying quarantined has been challenging and he dealt with some anxiety after learning his diagnosis.
"We are just dealing with it. The kids are doing their schoolwork. We can't work from home with our jobs. We just take it one day at a time. I wish it was raining now instead of the sun shining because it is making me not want to stay in the house."
Bateman urges everyone to stay at home to avoid contracting and spreading the virus. He said that there are a lot of people who are not going to be tested. They are walking around and thinking they just have allergies or a cold, as he did, but they have the coronavirus instead.
"No one is immune to it. Keep using Lysol and hand sanitizer and a mask and gloves. And don't touch your face," he continued.
"I just can't emphasize enough ... stay home. Stay out of the public. People have to get out and work. I understand that. My wife and I, our income is gone for a few weeks. If you don't have to be out, don't get out. That is the best way to take care of your family right now," he concluded.