One local nurse says she tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday evening, and she wants other local people to be mindful that not every case of the virus is like what they are reporting on television. Some people can have the coronavirus and not even know it.

“With me being a nurse, I just wanted to put something positive out there,” said Lisa Virgin of Providence. “I can’t be a nurse to anyone else but myself right now, so hopefully this will still let me help other people.”

Virgin said she was exposed to the virus on Wednesday of last week while working as a registered nurse at a facility outside of Webster County.

“One of the other nurses I work with had tested positive, and that day I ended up working with the same patients,” she said. “I woke up Thursday morning with allergy symptoms. I thought it was nothing. But I had one shift to work that night before I was going to be off for four days, so I decided to be cautious.”

Virgin said she called her medical doctor, where she was seen through a TeleHealth visit. Her doctor asked her some questions about her potential exposure while assuring her it was probably just season allergies. She was then directed to the hospital in Greenville to get the COVID-19 test on Friday.

She did not report for her Thursday night shift, just in case. The next morning she went to the hospital in Greenville.

“I drove around to the backside of the hospital, and they came out to the car wearing hazmat suits,” she said. “They tested me for the flu and for COVID and sent me home.”

On her way home they called to tell her she had tested negative for the flu, and reassured her that it was most likely just allergies. But it was suggested that she quarantine herself until the results came back.

After returning home, Virgin said she placed herself into self quarantine in her house. Over the weekend she experienced more allergy-like symptoms, including some minor congestion, a runny nose, a headache that lasted for four days and some body aches.

“Before all of this I’d go out and run up to five miles a day,” Virgin said. “After being cooped up in the house for several days, I just felt like I needed to get up and move to get rid of the body aches.”

So she got out and went on her regular run in the country, careful to stay away from everyone else.

“I was on the highway when my phone rang,” Virgin said. “It was the hospital calling with my test results. At first I didn’t believe what I’d heard, so I got off the road in the grass and made her tell me again. So that is what I was doing when I got the call, I was out on a five mile run.”

After getting the news, she said she returned home and put herself back on quarantine, stressing that she wont be going on any more runs until she gets the all clear from doctors.

But she doesn’t want people to read her story and think COVID-19 is no big deal and they shouldn’t worry about it. Virgin hopes people will realize that not everyone who is exposed is going to end up with a severe reaction and be hospitalized, but they can still expose the people around them.

“I think people are really thinking that this is only affected people severely,” she said. “Some cases are very bad. But I feel great. I feel like I could go out on another five mile run right now.”

Health officials have reported that more than 25% of COVID-19 cases are asymptomatic, meaning they show little to no signs of having the virus, but they can still pass it on to others.

“I see a lot of people getting out with friends and family in groups, going fishing or going hiking,” she said. “I’m glad people are getting to do stuff they haven’t done in years and spending time together, but they need to keep in mind that just because they feel fine doesn’t mean that they are. I could have been out doing that stuff too, and I have COVID. And I never would have thought it.”

Contact Matt Hughes at matt@journalenterprise.com or 270-667-2069