DAVIS COUNTY, Utah — A COVID-19 patient from Davis County is now recovering at home, and is opening up about her time in the hospital when there were still a lot of questions regarding the virus waiting to be answered.
Melissa Cox was the first novel coronavirus patient to be treated at Steward Health Care’s Davis Hospital.
She said it started with a horrible cough and aches.
“I finally got to the point where I just couldn’t tolerate the body aches, and just the overall yucky feeling, and I thought honestly I just had the flu,” she said.
Cox says she never had a high fever, but needed to be hospitalized with other symptoms.
When she told healthcare workers that she had been traveling outside of Utah, she was tested for COVID-19.
“I felt like I distanced myself from people and felt like I used the hand sanitizers and I washed my hands more frequently and those kinds of things, and I still got it,” Cox said. “I was very shocked.”
After testing positive, she was hospitalized for four days.
As the hospital’s first COVID-19 patient, she was able to witness those on the front lines trying to treat her in the early days of the known virus in Utah.
“I think like, ‘Wow, if they don’t really know what`s going on, how am I being treated?’” Cox recalled. “That definitely was an interesting experience to have been the first to go through that.”
But she responded to the treatment, and as hours and days went on, personal protective equipment and care evolved with the constant stream of new information.
For Cox, the hardest part was being in isolation — away from people, loved ones, those who wanted to know every update.
"Usually someone's really sick and you jump on a plane and you do to them to help, right?" she said. "In this scenario, it's: 'No, stay away. That's the best thing for everybody.' And that was really hard for them, I think, to understand is they couldn't come here and help."
She says she's 75 percent recovered, struggling mostly with stamina.
Now she's a COVID-19 survivor... With a message.
"I feel that if people would stay in and stay away and practice that social distancing that we'll get over this sooner, but the more they try to say it doesn't apply to them, the longer this is going to go on," she said.
After those long weeks of isolation and self quarantine, she received a clean bill of health from COVID-19 from her physician.
She's a strong believer that while challenging, self-quarantine is necessary to protect others.