SALT LAKE CO., Utah — Stop putting your guard down with COVID-19. That’s the call from health experts in Salt Lake County and a teacher recently hospitalized with the disease.
Intensive care beds are nearly full in some hospitals. It’s a place Charri Jensen knows all too well after spending eight days on a ventilator.
Two weeks after leaving the ICU, Jensen is still on oxygen.
“I’m feeling lots better, getting stronger every day,” said Jensen with her daughter by her side.
The 54-year-old thinks she was infected at Corner Canyon High School, during an outbreak that caused more than 500 students to quarantine in September.
“All those people, I felt every one of those prayers and those cards and letters, that’s what got me through it,” said Jensen.
On Wednesday, the teacher who goes by “Mama J” has a new lesson for her teenage students: follow the COVID-19 guidelines.
“It might be your grandma that you affect, a loved one or your aunt. You just never know,” said Jensen.
It’s echoed by Salt Lake County Health Executive Director Gary Edwards who said younger people comfortable around one another are putting older people at serious risk.
“When we are with those we are comfortable with, we can’t let our guard down,” said Edwards.
Even among extended family and friends, he urges people to socially distance and wear masks.
"If you don’t live with someone and you’re around them, you need to be wearing a face covering,” said Edwards.
Jensen regrets that she infected an uncle who also was hospitalized.
“I have to admit at first, I was like what’s this COVID stuff. But now we really have seen a difference in how it can change people’s lives,” Jensen said.
Jensen hopes to get back into the classroom early next year.