CAMDEN, S.C. — Barbara Lane started feeling bad after returning from a family event in Baltimore in mid-March.
"After a few days, I started having shortness of breath and coughing,” Lane, who is 50, told Channel 9 by phone on Wednesday. “I’ve been home ever since.”
Lane also suffered nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Experts say those symptoms sometimes come on before a fever, and could be the first signs of the virus. Lane’s fever has remained constant for days.
Lane is a pharmacy tech in Camden and hasn't been to work since she became ill. She's home with an older sister who is taking care of her, and a teenage daughter who is home from school.
"My older sister, she's been helping me,” Lane said. “She's been mostly covering her mouth, putting a mask on, gloves on, trying to leave my food and my drink at the door."
It's difficult to stay apart, but Lane said she spends all day in her room, trying to recover. She's not taking any special medicine, just something to bring her fever down, a Z-pack for her chest symptoms and some anti-nausea medicine.
"It's awful because I'm here in my home, fighting for my life, and there is no treatment for it," Lane said.
She was tested on March 16 but was frustrated at the length of time it took to get the results. She went and had another test at the hospital in Camden.
Both tests eventually came back positive for COVID-19.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the small, rural county of Kershaw had 63 positive cases while nearby counties in the area had far smaller numbers -- 18 in York County, six in Lancaster County, one in Chester County and three in Chesterfield County.
Much of Camden has shut down, as other counties have as well. Kershaw County was the first to see schools close, and the high number of cases attracted attention from the CDC.
Someone from the agency called Lane to ask if she knew how she got sick, or where she might have contracted the virus. Lane said she did not know.
She told Channel 9 the virus, at least for her, is not like the flu.
"There's no comparison at all,” she said. “This is worse. I think it's worse than the flu."
Lane urged people to stay at home if possible and follow what health experts are advising. She said she doesn't want to see anyone feel the way she does.
"Let's pray for each other, and let's look out for each other," Lane said.
Her sister and daughter are being quarantined with her but they have not shown any signs of illness and have not been tested for the virus.
Watch the video above as Channel 9′s South Carolina bureau reporter Greg Suskin speaks to the woman, who describes her fight to get healthy.
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