Wondering What It’s Like Living With COVID-19? This Denver Man Can Tell You

Listen Now
7min 39sec
Ian Isolation Quarantine Coronavirus
Courtesy Ian Wolfe
A Denver man's view of mandatory isolation as he recovers from COVID-19 in his basement

Forty-six-year-old Ian came down with what he thought was maybe just the flu.

After a rough night of sleep and a high fever, he went to his doctor. After a gamut of tests — strep throat, influenza A and B — his doctor did some finagling and got his hands on a coronavirus test

Ian (we’re not using his last name for privacy’s sake) had already self quarantined in his basement. In the minutes and hours after the test, he started to get anxious.

“It was kind of freaky, yeah,” he told Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner. “And of course, your mind starts to race with all the what-ifs.”

Ian is doing fine. He complained of a lingering cough but is through the worst of it. His doctor said there’s nothing he can prescribe. So Ian’s been getting a lot of rest, taking Tylenol for the fever, drinking a lot of fluids and watching a lot of Netflix. The show that’s been getting him through this ordeal: Outsiders. 

Ian was diagnosed on March 6, one of the first people identified in the state. He is considered presumptive positive, meaning his results still have to be confirmed by the CDC. He is one of 77 people, as of March 13, who state health officials say have the virus in Colorado.

In the last week, the number of cases in Colorado went up steeply and the governor has declared a state of emergency. One person, a woman in her 80’s with underlying conditions, died on Friday. Schools are transitioning to online learning, people are stocking up and preparing to hunker down, much as Ian and his family already have.

After Ian’s diagnosis, they received a legal document explaining what they were to do. 

“So immediately following the news from the doctor, we received a call from the Denver Health Department,” Ian explained. “A woman introduced herself as the contact for us — for our family. We are to stay in the house for 14 days with no contact with anyone else.”

Read more: If I think I have COVID-19, how much will the test cost me?

Ian is on an isolation order per the Denver Department of Public Health, separated from the rest of his family. His wife and two boys are under mandatory quarantine. The entire family cannot leave or conduct regular business.  

Ian Facetimes with his boys at bedtime and texts his wife for meals.

When Ian wants to go outside, “they clear a path for me,” Ian said. His wife makes sure he can’t touch anything and he gets to enjoy some air outside. His family, he said, is doing great.

“Fortunately, the boys can play outside,” he said of his two sons.

What's gone through Ian's head since he'd had the disease? He’s 46, in good health with no underlying conditions, so he tried not to worry.

“I am healthy, so I just had to keep telling myself that,” he told Colorado Matters.

Ian counts himself and his family as lucky. He talked to Colorado Matters because he wanted to let people know, yes, people are surviving the disease. His advice to people:

“I would say that the most important thing is to communicate with your doctor as soon as you have these symptoms and work with them to get tested.”