By Saraana Jamraj
As COVID-19 cases continue to spread, two Tamarac city officials have feared for their health after returning from a national conference.
Commissioner Mike Gelin feared he might be infected with COVID-19 when he returned from a trip to Washington, D.C., where he attended the National League of Cities Congressional City Conference.
Commissioner Julie Fishman suspended her campaign and self-quarantined after that same trip.
It was at that conference where Gelin met Senator Rick Scott—who days later had to self-quarantine based on his exposure to someone who tested positive.
When Gelin returned home on March 12, he began to notice symptoms: chills, a cough, and a sore throat.
“My sore throat was pretty bad, the cough was mild, and I had chills for a few days,” Gelin said.
Gelin was not experiencing any severe respiratory symptoms, such as shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, so he wasn’t extremely worried.
However, he did self-medicate through fluids, Tylenol, and resting, and made an appointment to get tested.
“I called my personal doctor at the Cleveland Clinic. I was transferred to a nurse triage who peppered me with questions to determine if I qualified for a test,” Gelin said.
The nurse asked about his symptoms, travel, and potential exposure to others with it. Based on that information, he met the criteria for a test.
On March 19, he went to a drive-through center where he had his nostrils swabbed.
He was told results would come back in three to five days, but due to a backlog at the lab, it was seven days before he received the good news that his test was negative.
“I was thrilled that the results came back negative. I could finally start playing with my son and taking myself out of isolation and social distancing at home,” Gelin said.
For residents who might be experiencing similar situations or symptoms, Gelin advises them to call their doctors or use telehealth to get the best advice on what to do and where to get tested.
“There is a serious backlog in getting test results back, so if you think you have symptoms, it’s best to self-quarantine and act as if you have the coronavirus until you can secure a test,” said Gelin.
He urged residents to be patient, stay home, and keep their spirits up.
- Selene Raj is a writer and a Florida International University graduate. Born in Trinidad and raised in America, she completed her Master's in Mass Communications in 2020, and has been living in Coral Springs since 2004. She is passionate about the communities she lives and works in and loves reporting and sharing stories that are as complex and meaningful as the people who live in them.
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