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04-16-2020 Comparing coronavirus symptoms with others doesn’t always arrive at a diagnosis; Kute Ki

Comparing coronavirus symptoms with others doesn’t always arrive at a diagnosis

By Angela Widdis This pandemic is happening in real time and as the novel coronavirus makes it spread across Berrien County, people in the Tri-City area are now more likely than ever before to know someone who has presented with some of the known symptoms. Since the symptoms are similar to those of pneumonia, influenza and the common cold, only a diagnostic test can confirm whether an individual has coronavirus or not. Yet, these symptoms are leaving some people questioning as to whether or not they have the virus if they are not eligible for testing.

In the case of Tom Fuller, 68, of Watervliet, he tested positive for COVID-19 on Wed., March 25, but his journey began well before with symptoms of a runny nose that started on the 21st of March. It progressed from there with a cough on Sunday, March 22, and then the low-grade fever that started that Monday. Fuller’s daughter-in-law that is in the health care field supplied his wife, Cathy, with a pulse oximeter to monitor his oxygen levels. It wasn’t until the early hours of Tue., March 24, when Tom’s oxygen levels were unstable which prompted them to take the trip to Spectrum Health Lakeland’s emergency room. Once there, Tom was not allowed to be escorted by his wife, Cathy, as new protocols have been in place at the hospital to restrict all visitors. He was given personal protection devises and taken to a room where the coronavirus swab and other tests were administered. Tom then was released to await results that should take 24-hours to process. The confirmation of the virus came shortly after 10:45 a.m. on Wed., March 25. That is when a nurse from the Berrien County Health Department (BCHD) called the Fuller’s home with the results and instructions to quarantine those whom Tom had been in contact with. That meant that the Fullers three sons, their wives, and all seven of their grandchildren had to now be quarantined. Accounts from Cathy states that, “the first few days were not bad at all” however, that all changed on Sunday, March 29 when Fuller was experiencing body aches and fever. To compound matters, the eldest son of the Fullers was tested and confirmed positive for the virus just a day before. After a follow-up discussion with the BCHD nurse on Mon., March 30, the Fullers were urged to follow up with Tom’s primary care physician (PCP). Due to his lingering low-grade fevers that ranged from 99.3 to 100.2, even after Cathy was administering fever reducers every four hours, they were advised that this is a normal symptom but to remain in contact by calling back on April 2 if the fevers persisted. On the 2nd of April things started to look hopeful when Tom awoke without a fever. Unfortunately, by 11:00 a.m. that day, it had returned and they quickly phoned the primary care doctor for further instructions. On Friday, April 3, the Fullers participated in a virtual visit with a physician from Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo. During this e-visit Cathy was directed to set an alarm for every two hours in order to check Tom’s oxygen levels and to return to the ER if any of those readings fell below 92. The worst of the days were upon them as Sat., April 4 arrived, presenting Tom with an uncontrollable cough and periodic fevers reaching to heights of 101.8. In fear, Cathy reached out to his PCP again and they prescribed medications for the cough and an inhaler to improve air flow in the lungs along with a mucus relief medication for aid, all the while still taking a fever reducer. The fevers subsided by Mon., April 6, yet the cough was still persistent so a different cough suppressant was prescribed. As of April 13, Tom is finally feeling that he is on the mend in spite of still having a slight cough. As for their 39-year-old son, he too has recovered from the virus. Cathy wrote in a response that, “This has been a roller coaster of emotions from not knowing whether he (Tom) was going to be able to survive this virus, knowing my son has tested positive, and from the panic that I have been taking care of my husband that I will catch the virus from him.” The one thing that the Fullers said they are thankful for is that they have received such a great outpouring of concern from their family and church where so many people have prayed for them during this time of crisis. Tom Fuller is retired from Amtrak and is co-pastor at Full Gospel Christian Tabernacle on Carmody Road in Watervliet. His wife Cathy is retired from in-home daycare and now a “full-time granny”.

Sharon Crotser-Toy felt ill but symptoms didn’t merit a test In the case of Sharon Crotser-Toy, 61, of Lawrence Township, she was told that she did not meet the criteria for testing after she went to Bronson LakeView Family Care in Paw Paw on April 1. Crotser-Toy’s only symptom in the beginning was a sore throat that began on March 30. But it wasn’t until the onset of fatigue and a low-grade fever that had her worried enough to reach out to her primary care physician for further instructions. During the call, her primary care doctor was not confident in making the diagnosis of COVID-19. That is when she drove herself to LakeView Family Care to seek medical advice. There her lung function and oxygen levels were examined and she was told that based on those tests she was not a candidate to receive the coronavirus swab. They instructed her to return home and assume that she does have the virus and self isolate. Plenty of panic ensued when Sharon returned home alone that Wednesday and started to experience profuse sweating and rigors that were accompanied with a rise in her temperature that would ultimately last for two weeks. Seeking only relief with acetaminophen, she personally managed her condition by trying to replenish her body with plenty of liquids and rest to try and balance the body’s response to rid itself of the infection. Sharon said that she was in contact with her PCP’s after-hour care line and a few of her closest friends whenever she needed both medical advice and emotional support. Reflecting on her experience, she knows the value of the idiom “better safe than sorry”. Sharon proclaimed, “When you run into someone you are not just bringing your germs, you are bringing with you everyone’s germs that you have come in contact with, and germs that those people might be bringing from their encounters. So, self isolation increases the possibility of saving lives.” The thing that Sharon struggles with is the fact of the unknown. Was it the coronavirus or not? Not having a definitive diagnosis leaves her hyper focused on the low-grade fever she is still experiencing on and off and being mindful about any new or mysterious symptoms because she suffers with Fibromyalgia. She knows she was sick, she knows it was like something she had never experienced before, but she doesn’t know the name. A name that only testing could provide. Sharon Crotser-Toy is the director at the Watervliet District Library. Both of these cases should remind people to be concerned enough to pay attention to the CDC updates and guidelines, as well as the information from our state and local health departments as new information is released. Not every case presents the same nor is it treated the same or meets the parameters for testing. We must recognize that we are dealing with a new virus that is why it has been referred to as novel, it is an unprecedented pandemic with many questions that are left unanswered, and all of this is uncharted territory with its reach yet unknown. With this in mind, in the absence of wide-spread testing, proven and effective therapies, or a vaccine to provide immunity against this disease, social distancing becomes the most important course of action that will potentially help to save lives by limiting the spread of COVID-19.

THIS KUTE KID IS… 3-year-old Brady Beltran of Hartford going under cover as Paw Patrol pup Chase. Brady is on the case just like his grandma, Hartford Chief of Police Tressa Beltran. His proud parents are Ramon II & Amber Beltran of Hartford. Brady’s loving grandparents are Bobby and Ann Wade of Hartford, Ramon and Tressa Beltran of Decatur, and Mike and Phyllis Birdsall of Jackson, Michigan.

Earth Day – time to “go green” with your investments? Over the past several weeks, many of us have been working from home in response to the “social distancing” necessitated by the coronavirus. Nonetheless, we still have opportunities to get outside and enjoy Mother Nature. And now, with the 50th anniversary of Earth Day being celebrated on April 22, it’s important to appreciate the need to protect our environment. Of course, you can do so in many ways – including the way you invest. Some investors are supporting the environment through “sustainable” investing, which is often called ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance) investing. In general, it refers to investments in businesses whose products and services are considered favorable to the physical environment (such as companies that produce renewable energy or that act to reduce their own carbon footprints) or the social environment (such as firms that follow ethical business practices or pursue important societal goals, such as inclusion and pay equity). ESG investing may also screen out investments in companies that produce products some people find objectionable. ESG investing has become popular in recent years, and not just with individuals; major institutional investors now pursue sustainability because they think it’s profitable – and plenty of facts bear that out. A growing body of academic research has found a positive relationship between corporate financial performance – that is, a company’s profitability – and ESG criteria. So, although you might initially be attracted to sustainable investments because they align with your personal values, or because you want to hold companies to higher standards of corporate citizenship, it turns out that you can do well by doing good. Keep in mind, though, that sustainability, like any other criteria, can’t guarantee success or prevent losses. In any case, be aware that sustainable investing approaches can vary significantly, so you need to determine how a particular sustainable investment, or class of investments, can align with your values and fit into your overall portfolio. Specifically, how will a sustainable investment meet your needs for diversification? For example, if you desire total control over how your money is invested, you might want to invest in a basket of individual stocks from the companies you wish to support. But if you want to achieve greater diversification, plus receive the benefits of professional management, you might want to invest in sustainable mutual funds. Be aware, though, that even though they may not market themselves as “sustainable,” many more mutual funds do incorporate sustainability criteria into their investment processes. You also might consider exchange-traded funds (ETFs), which own a variety of investments, similar to regular mutual funds, but trade like stocks. ETFs often track particular indexes, so an ETF with a sustainable focus might track an index including companies that have been screened for social responsibility. Make sure you understand the fundamentals of any sustainable investment you’re considering, as well as whether it can help you work toward your long-term goals. But by “going green” with some of your investments, you can help keep the spirit of Earth Day alive every day of the year. This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor. Edward Jones, Member SIPC



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