New Year, New(ish) Covid


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The new Omicron variant of COVID-19 has been spreading like wildfire over winter season and the CDC has reason to believe that this variant is more contagious than the original SARS-CoV-2 strand. Menchville students and teachers alike have recently fallen victim. Personally, my classes have felt empty since returning to school and even my neighbors and teammates outside of school have been testing positive. If you are one of the lucky ones who hasn’t been involved in a COVID scare yet or wants to compare experiences, this article is for you. I’ll take you through my own COVID encounter over the last week. 


Day 1:

I believe it all started with my younger brother going to a concert with friends on December 21st. Of course it was crowded and no masks were in sight, but he was vaccinated so what could go wrong? 

Day 4: 

It’s Christmas Eve now and we are driving to see our extended family. We gather inside, everyone invited is vaccinated, and eat a buffet style dinner. On the way home my brother admits that he doesn’t feel well. But it was loud, it had been a long night, too much candy, etc… so many possibilities that COVID was not even on the radar.


Day 5: 

It’s Christmas day. The joyous rush of the holiday was in the air, but it wasn’t alone. The Omicron variant was keeping it company up there. Our festivities continued as normal. We visited my grandmother and then went back to see the same relatives as the night before. My brother still didn’t feel great, but I guess opening gifts all day was an adequate distraction. 


Day 6: 

Recovery day. After a long weekend of celebrating, it was finally time to rest. We stayed in most of the day as the symptoms began to take over. Sore throat, fever, and headache were a few. What was just affecting my brother started spreading to me. 


Day 7: 

Finally, my brother heads to the doctor’s office. At first, the nurse only tested him for flu and strep throat. My dad was the one to request a COVID test. Since he was already showing symptoms, they administered the 15 minute rapid test and it came back positive. They called on the way home to let me know and at first I thought it was a joke. My disbelief came to an abrupt stop when I watched them walk in the house with masks on. That night our family dinner was eaten in two rooms and our plan for the rest of the week was the main topic of discussion. 


Day 8: 

I woke up feeling a tinge in my throat and pressure in my head. I had a testing appointment that day and was not feeling too confident about it. Since I was feeling mild symptoms, I received a rapid test and a PCR test. After 15 minutes to process, the first test came back negative but the doctors had warned that these tests aren’t as accurate in the early stages of the virus. The PCR results take about two days so I began my isolation in case of a positive test. 

Courtesy of Ellume Health

Day 9: 

Waiting. Inside. Masks on. Although I was stuck in my house, I tried to make the most of the time off. This meant lots of cleaning. On the flip side, my screen time hit an all time high. I started binge watching three shows without hesitation. What else was there to do?


Day 10: 

Anxiously waiting for test results drove my mom crazy. She found at-home tests at CVS so the remaining family members got some answers. My and my dad’s tests were both positive but miraculously my mom’s was negative. Later that night the PCR results came in, confirming what we had discovered earlier. 

Day 11: 

New Years Eve, hooray! What better way to celebrate a new year than being stuck at home with the same virus that was supposed to have died out a year and a half ago? Nonetheless, I did get to spend some quality time with my immediate family six feet apart. 

Ann Chappell Ellington

Day 13: 

It’s the last day of winter break. Since everyone was feeling better and the CDC changed its isolation requirements to only 5 days at home, we were ready to head back to school as planned. As an extra precaution, we retested at home and had negative results. 


Our family was incredibly lucky to have the COVID experience that we did. Symptoms were brief and mild, it didn’t impact the at risk extended family, and it couldn’t have been better timing. It was a learning experience and a wake up call. Wear your masks, wash your hands, keep your distance… We hear it all the time, but having experienced it first hand puts an extra emphasis on its importance. Stay safe and healthy!