Prior to the pandemic, senior year of high school was a time full of celebration with activities like prom, grad night and graduation. However, amid COVID-19, this experience has been stripped for the class of 2020. While dealing with a drastic change to his senior year, Cleveland Charter High School’s Sam Katz tested positive for coronavirus.
Before coronavirus, Sam Katz was the typical senior who was trying to decide on which college to attend, while also maintaining a volunteer position at the front desk of a local hospital. As news of this COVID-19 became more widespread he was told to start asking visitors about their prior travel history or if they were showing any symptoms of the virus, but never thought that the virus would impact him directly.
In a matter of weeks that quickly changed, upon hearing that his father might have contracted the disease from a coworker and then getting the news that his father did indeed test positive for the virus. As a result, both he and his mother went to get tested and he describes his test on April 3 “as very painful for like 10 seconds … because they just take a swab and jam it down your nose.”
Furthermore, when Katz arrived for his testing appointment he explained that he could only roll down his window when it was his turn and that all in all it was an organized process. He adds that his results from both his and his mother’s tests came back quickly and in under 48 hours they knew that they too had the virus.
Not long after his diagnosis, Katz was also called by an essential worker from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health who wanted to collect data about his symptoms and confirm his personal information. The worker then told him information on how long he was to stay isolated and that he needed to wear the proper equipment when going outside.
Even though his testing experience was not a comfortable one, Katz notes that he is lucky to not have experienced extreme symptoms. While some extreme cases can put people into the hospital, the worst of the symptoms that Katz’s family experienced were fever, headaches and chills. Katz mentioned how he “just had to keep going.”
He explained how the most frustrating part of being in isolation was having to disinfect everything that is touched often, ranging from light switches to computers. Additionally, Katz said that while it is inconvenient, both he and his father have signed up for a program with UCLA Health. The program allows them to give some of their blood to hopefully speed along the whole process of trying to find a vaccine.
The silver lining of this is because his entire family tested positive for the virus, they did not have to isolate themselves from one another and could do more things together.
“I definitely miss [seeing friends] obviously but specifically hanging out with my friends at lunchtime in E-hall… [Those were] fun times,” Katz said.
As Sam Katz has already recovered from the virus, he urges everyone to follow the laws and precautions that are set in place to ensure the safety of everyone.