Chesterton Tribune



Mask up! Covid19 is real, it's here, and it is spreading

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Editor's note: Christina Burr Klespies originally posted the following to her Facebook page on Sunday, and has graciously allowed the Chesterton Tribune to re-print it as a guest column. Klespies did so, she told the Tribune, because she wants folks to understand that COVID-19 is stalking the community, that it's highly contagious, and that masking is an easy and effective way to keep oneself and one's family safe.

Guest Column



This is about my son from Chesterton High School and his friends. I decided to go public about this story to educate others.

If you donít know anyone who tested positive for COVID-19. . .now you do!

(Itís a long, but important story.)

While some of my friends already know, my son had COVID-19. I wasnít going to share everything publicly, but as I continue to see my friends post pictures of groups, vacations, their kids playing sports (unmasked), etc.--it now makes me cringe--and I feel it necessary to share our story.

My son and his friends (like most seniors this summer) were making their rounds each weekend to graduation parties. Largely these were outdoors, and they were not masking.

A neighboring high school had parents who organized a prom event (unsanctioned by the high school). This prom was attended by a couple hundred kids at the Expo Center on a Wednesday night. To our knowledge, the kids were not masked. . . But as you can imagine, they were likely dancing close, sweating, riding in cars together, attending ďafter-partiesĒ together, etc.

My son did not attend this prom, but several of his friends did. Most of his friends who attended the prom were exposed to a person with COVID-19.

All it took was one of those students (who did not know they were exposed) to attend a graduation party three days later. That person, in turn, exposed more people, including my son and his friends. Of the 20 kids at the after-party, more than almost 75 percent became infected with COVID-19.

Hereís where this virus is unrelenting. Not knowing they were exposed, approximately seven of them went on a camping trip out of state with a parent two days after the grad party. (So riding together in a car together with the windows up for five hours each way, sharing tents, etc.)

All came home with symptoms and within days of each other, all tested positive for COVID-19, including the parent on the trip.

Another group who was unknowingly exposed at the grad party also made a trip (but 2.5 hours away from the other group), and to my knowledge all members of that group also came home positive.

Hereís why Iím telling you all this: I can now testify to the power of masking and the rapid-fire spread of this virus.

When my son and his friends returned from the camping trip (with symptoms) he and two of his friends isolated at my house. Within days, they all three tested positive. For 10 days, I cared for the boys, doing temperature checks, dispensing medicine, cooking meals, cleaning, etc. We used lots of Lysol wipes, hand sanitizer, and Lysol spray. I masked whenever I had any contact and so did the boys. They isolated to separate bedrooms, separate bathrooms, and shared a dining space separate from mine. My husband did not have any exposure to my son or his friends (since before their exposure) so my husband isolated on his own and was not in contact with the kids.

Undoubtedly, I thought, with caring for COVID-positive people, I would surely contract this virus. The odds were not in my favor. I volunteered to take the boys in, though, because I have no other children at home, and didnít want the other kids to expose their families. Iím happy to report, through steadfast masking, social distancing, and sanitizing. I have received two negative tests and have had zero symptoms.

The boys are all recovered now and have checked out of my ďHotel COVID."

It wasnít a fun experience, but very educational and surely opened all of our eyes to the rampant spread of this virus. Unfortunately, because of exposure at a prom (that somehow parents thought would be a good idea without masks and social distancing), we now have over 50 teens infected in our county just in the last few weeks, and it has also spread to parents.

PLEASE MASK UP! It can happen to you and it can happen to your kids. And worse, you could infect your grandparents and vulnerable populations. With the symptoms I have seen, they most likely wouldnít fare well.

Please share this story. People need to know they are not exempt, that the virus is not a hoax, and masking is not a political statement! Protect yourself, your family, and your community!

PS: PLEASE do not social-shame those who test positive. Unfortunately, that was a harsh reality for my son and their friends. Be kind.


Posted 8/3/2020




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