Coldwater’s Second Ward Councilman Jim Knaack watched Monday’s Coldwater City Council online meeting.
Mayor Tom Kramer said Knaack and his wife tested positive for COVID-19.
“He is coughing too much and thought it would disrupt the meeting,” Kramer said.
Thursday afternoon, Knaack started a phone call with coughs.
“Worst flu I have ever had. And the longest lasting,” he said.
Knaack, a counselor at Lakeland Correctional, had been doing his job in the midst of the pandemic. Now 789 of the 1,412 prisoners have test positive as of Thursday.
There have been 14 prisoners deaths. He is among the 32 employees who tested positive.
On the same day, Knaack and his wife came down with serious congestion and illness.
A son who came home from a closed college has been staying away from them, living in the basement. Knaack said his son now has come down with congestion, but has not been tested.
“This is really like nothing else. I could see how this could kill you,” Knaack said.
The couple showed the first symptoms the weekend of March 22.
“The first five nights – you know how stuff gets worse at night – from 1 a.m. to 4 a.m., I sat up in my computer chair with the ceiling fan on high. I changed a towel every couple hours from it being wringing wet,” Knaack said of his ordeal.
Hacking and coughing during the 20 minute conversation, he described “then the chills would set in. You’d sit there and freeze for a couple or four hours. Then it starts all over again.”
Knaack said usually with the flu he feels ill for half a day or a day. “You think it’s going break.” His serious symptoms lasted from Monday, March 23 unitl Sunday, March 29.
Knaack said he could only sleep for a couple of hours at a time.
“No food. You couldn’t keep nothing down,” he said. “You force yourself to drink little sips of water.”
Knaack said he started to feel better Monday, but had a relapse Thursday.
“This has just started to get in my chest. We are watching out for each other. It’s a manageable cough for now,” he said.
The family ran into one problem after the first week. Ordered to remain home with no outside contact, there was no easy way to get food and other supplies.
With offers from friends and another son not living at home, they could cover emergencies. For other supplies, the family decided to use the order delivery system from Meijer.
The order was made Monday for essentials, but it could not be delivered until Wednesday. By the time it was filled, many of the items were out-of-stock.
He took his complaints to corporate Meijer who admitted the smaller stores are not supplied like larger stores.
“This could be a real problem for the elderly,” Knaack said. “That is a situation that needs to be addressed.”
He said he is not sure when he will get back to work.
“We are getting various stories from the doctor, the hospital, the health department. Some say when you are symptom free for three days without Tylenol you can go back to work. But others say if you are around others with the symptoms you can’t. I really don’t know.”
The family remains quarantined at home. Knaack said his wife has more serious symptoms and illness than he does.
The athletic Knaack warned “I’m 50 and in relative good shape. If you were 70 and in good shape, this could kill you.”