Health officials reported the first three confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the Yuba-Sutter area over the weekend.
Marysville resident Joshua Victorino, 29, says he is one of them. He took to social media to share his experience with others and to answer questions community members had about the virus.
Despite the seriousness of the situation, Victorino said he is doing his best to see the brighter side of things. In one social media post on Sunday, he gave viewers an update of his symptoms in Elmo’s voice, the popular character from “Sesame Street.” Later that day, he posted another video, this time impersonating Captain Jack Sparrow from Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean” film series.
“I’m pretty much an open book,” Victorino said. “…I’ve made a few videos about it where I’ve made some jokes because I believe humor is a good way to cope with certain things. I also wanted to educate people that this can be bad if they don’t take the necessary precautions.”
Victorino has been experiencing symptoms of the coronavirus behind the scenes since last Tuesday. He couldn’t post an update on Monday because he was in too much pain.
He doesn’t know how or where he contracted the virus. Around the time he would’ve contracted it, he was on modified duty from work due to a rotator cuff injury he sustained. He was also limiting his contact with other people.
On March 17, Victorino first started experiencing a cough. He assumed it was just allergies. The next day he started having a shortness of breath, which is when he decided it was time to get tested. He went to Ampla Health’s drive-thru location on Sutter Street – one of the three sites in the Yuba-Sutter area where residents can be screened and tested if found to meet certain criteria.
“They first took my temperature after asking about my symptoms. It’s interesting because fever is one of the main symptoms, but I haven’t had that yet, my temperature has been normal,” Victorino said. “Then they stuck two different swabs up my nose to test for flu, which came back negative. Then they did another swab up the nose and two in the back of the throat to test for coronavirus.”
He was told it could take between 4-11 days to receive test results for COVID-19. He officially got word on Saturday that he tested positive.
Some of his symptoms since last week have included difficulty breathing, sore throat, a bad cough, vomiting and diarrhea, fatigue, body aches and headaches.
There isn’t a cure currently or medication to treat the virus. The only thing he’s been able to do to help suppress the cough is drinking tea with honey. Other than that, he and his family have isolated themselves to ride out the virus at home, though they are in communication with health professionals on a daily basis to make sure his symptoms are not worsening.
“Once all of my symptoms are alleviated, they’ll test me again to make sure that it isn’t still there. They are most likely going to test the rest of my family as well just to be safe,” Victorino said.
He said the situation has been hard on the family not being able to leave the house. His oldest daughter turned six on Sunday, so they weren’t able to celebrate the occasion like they normally would. Still, he said he’s thankful his family gets to stay together throughout the ordeal.
Victorino said the best piece of advice he could give other community members at this time is to take health experts’ precautions seriously and to limit contact with others as much as possible.
“If anything, people should definitely not go out unless they absolutely need to,” Victorino said. “Even me, just going out because I had to for work, to get food, or for a doctor’s appointment, I still got it, and because you can be asymptomatic for so long, it’s important to not spread it anywhere else.”