MANHATTAN BEACH, CA — A Manhattan Beach woman who participated in a seemingly safe family gathering to see her daughter's family one last time before they moved to Europe cautions others to please wear masks after the majority of folks at the gathering tested positive for COVID-19.
Ann Boreson told Manhattan Beach Patch, "I can’t be sure how I got COVID but the timeline leads to one event that I truly regret. One of my kids and her family are moving to Europe so we wanted to get together one last time to say goodbye. We were outdoors and had at least six feet between us and yet, most of us are COVID positive now. The rest of the group are all in their 20s and 30s and they have symptoms as bad as mine and some much worse.
"My COVID symptoms started out with a sore throat, headache, cough, and muscle aches," she said. "A few days later I became quite ill with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, and chills. I could not keep my eyes open and slept day and night. The rest of my family developed these symptoms on the same day as I did and some complained that it felt like a large human was sitting on their chest. Only two of us had a spiked fever and one is still having a hard time breathing. The eighth day seems to be the worst. Symptoms appear to lighten up and then slam you on or around the eighth day."
The common element of the gathering? They didn't wear masks. "We took them off, stupidly thinking we were 'among family' and it would be fine," Boreson said. Family members did touch door knobs, and go in and out of the kitchen and bathroom.
"A few of us hugged," she told MB Patch. "I didn't touch anyone and kept my distance, but I got it. The one 20-year-old hugged people and played with the kids, but she did not get it. I keep looking for a pattern, but I can’t find one. We shared food (pizza), but didn’t share plates.
"I am one of those people who haven’t even ventured into a grocery store since March. My husband has been running errands and grocery shopping due to my health concerns," Boreson said. "When we did venture out somewhere, we would make sure that we had 6 feet between ourselves and others and wore a mask. My husband and I are musicians so we have been put on hold but we have played twice at an outdoor restaurant. The restaurant is careful to put us far away from the diners and when we finished playing, we put on a mask.
"Before I got COVID, I used to take walks around the neighborhood. Each time I left my house I noticed that no one was wearing a mask. If I ran across a masked walker, I would wave in appreciation. The people without masks would often give me a pathetic stare as if I was one of those obedient little Liberal Sheeples who follows orders. I got tired of the stares and after a while, I just stopped taking walks."
For the Boreson clan, getting tested for the novel coronavirus has an ordeal, with test results coming ever so slowly. Boreson, who is in her 60s, said she assumes her husband, also in his 60s, contracted COVID-19 though he has yet to receive results and he has not had symptoms. Of the four people in their 30s, three of the four tested positive and one is awaiting results. Of the two individuals in their 20s, one tested positive and one negative. The two kids under 6 have yet to receive results.
"I do have a doctor and I called to see if he could prescribe a COVID test. My husband and I were able to take the test the following day in Torrance, but we were told that the results would not be ready for five to ten days. As others in the family began to experience symptoms, I decided that I didn’t want to wait that long so I went to a private practice in Santa Monica that charges $200 but you get the results on the same day. The doctor texted me at 2 a.m. saying that I was positive. Although I did not want to pay for a test, my peace of mind was worth every penny," she said. "My husband has still not received the results and when he called for an update, they told him they were backlogged and it will now be 12 to 14 days. They commented that this wait time was actually pretty good because one patient had to wait 19 days for results. This means that my husband will probably be over the virus before he gets the results."
Boreson, who took her story to Nextdoor to help others avoid a similar experience, hopes her story will help others be observant of mask wearing. "Bottom line, masks are the answer," she said. "When you wear them, you have done everything you can to stop the spread. I just don’t think this is up for debate anymore.
"I wear a mask for many reasons, but not for any type of political statement," said Boreson. The way I see it, wearing a mask is about being a compassionate human being who wants the best for everyone. I can’t make that statement if I’m not doing everything in my power to keep others safe from COVID. I now know from experience that when this virus spreads within your group of peers, it moves fast and takes no prisoners. I hope that those I love will be fine, but it is very scary and I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. That’s why I will never make the same mistake and will always wear a mask."