An elected official in Marietta is one of more than 100 people in Georgia who have been diagnosed with the coronavirus.
Councilwoman Cheryl Richardson said her diagnosis was confirmed Monday by her doctor. As of Tuesday, there have been 146 confirmed cases of the virus, 25 of which are in Cobb County.
Richardson, 59, said she suddenly began feeling symptoms around 1:30 a.m. last Wednesday when she woke up with a fever and cough.
“I just thought, ‘Oh, I’m getting sick’,” she said. “I didn’t think much of it, but I stayed home.”
When she was preparing to go to the City Council meeting, she called Mayor Steve Tumlin and told him how she was feeling. His response to her was to “stay home,” she said. So, Richardson called her doctor and told her that despite taking Tylenol, her fever was getting worse.
Her doctor told Richardson to go to the emergency room for medical care. Richardson told WellStar Kennestone Hospital doctors that she hadn’t been out of the country or around anyone who had been diagnosed. Her main symptoms were severe body aches, fever and cough, she said.
Doctors ran 13 tests to determine the cause of Richardson’s illness, all of which came back negative. She was then directed to her doctor so she could be tested for the virus. On Thursday, she drove to her doctor’s office where they did a nasal swab for testing.
“I hoped it would be a cold and much ado about nothing,” she said, adding she’s been self-quarantining at home alone since her symptoms started nearly a week ago. Richardson lives alone.
Monday’s confirmation, however, proved to be much more serious, and meant she is required to isolate herself from others.
As a result, Richardson, who was first elected in 2017, said she had to miss her father’s funeral service over the weekend in Massachusettes.
“My dad had been sick, so it wasn’t a surprise,” she said. “But it’s just hard that I didn’t get to go and say goodbye.”
Richardson said she’s been ordered to remain at home until she’s symptom-free for at least 72 hours and has finished her medications. She said she hopes anyone who is showing symptoms, whether they have been tested for the coronavirus or not, will follow public health officials’ advice to stay home.
“The test really, in my mind, is to let us know how it’s progressing and spreading,” she said. “The real issue is to just stay home.”
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