Ten days after a positive COVID-19 test result, Rep. Jahana Hayes, D-5th District, said Wednesday she believes she has turned a corner in her recovery process.
“I feel like I am approaching the end of this journey,” she wrote in a personal journal entry shared on Twitter Wednesday morning.
Hayes, who has been isolated in a 14-day quarantine since Sept. 20, has chronicled her experience of the virus through handwritten journal entries, from restless nights of sweats and chills to virtual congressional duties and self-monitored oxygen levels. She has posted nine entries since Sept. 21.
In her experience of COVID-19, her most persistent symptom is shortness of breath, Hayes said Wednesday.
“After a twenty min. phone conversation I feel like I ran a sprint,” she wrote, adding that it can take an hour of deep breathing to slow her heart rate down. She has found relief in breathing exercises, aromatic showers, frequent hydration, and sleep.
Hayes first shared the news of her positive test result a day after announcing that one of her staffers, with whom she had “close contact,” had tested positive for the virus. In late April, Hayes' husband Milford Hayes, a Waterbury police officer, tested positive for the virus, forcing the family into quarantine, though Hayes received a negative test at that time.
Fifteen members of Congress have tested positive for COVID-19 so far, according to GovTracker, a site aimed at making Congress more open and accessible. Overall, 70 members of Congress have been quarantined due to COVID-19 concerns, have come into contact with someone who tested positive for the virus or have tested positive themselves.
Hayes said she has struggled to come to terms with the unpredictability of an illness that has dogged her for more than a week.
“It’s so deceiving because I am up feeling good and when I talk on the phone friends say I sound so much better but the simplest task leaves me exhausted," she wrote Wednesday.
Public health officials have advised her that she should experience a “breakthrough” in symptoms by the second week of her recovery.
There have been some moments of levity, however. On Sept. 28, Hayes wrote that she laughed at herself for worrying that she had given her dog, Kennedy, COVID-19. (A small number of pets worldwide have been infected with COVID-19, though the risk is considered low, according to the CDC.)
“Kennedy kept tossing and turning all night, pacing and panting," she wrote. "I thought she had COVID. I thought I gave my dog COVID. She has been the only one in the room with me. Turns out she just had to poop.”
Eliza Fawcett can be reached at email@example.com.
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