Parachute officer shares personal struggle with COVID-19

GARFIELD COUNTY, CO – As 42-year-old Police Sergeant Justin Mayfield walks around his garage, you can hear heavy breathing, an indication of the shortness in his breath that still persists 14 weeks after his bout with COVID-19.

“There is still so much we don’t know about how long the aftereffects of the illness last. I still get worn out just getting up to get something, or doing a trivial task in the garage. I’m getting better every day, but I’m not back to where I was pre-COVID.” 

Mayfield knew he was coming down with something a few days after returning from a training in Eagle County in early March of 2020, when the COVID pandemic was just beginning to take root there. Following the training, Mayfield went back to work as usual, but three days later he began to feel sick. On the fourth day, his wife and teenage son also began to feel ill. “I believe the training may have been where I picked it up. You just don’t know.” said Mayfield.

Both Mayfield and his son knew that something was wrong when their senses of smell and taste became ‘off.’  “We had just purchased fresh chicken and when I smelled it, I thought it smelled completely terrible like it had gone bad. My son came in and said that dinner smelled rotten.” Loss of taste is a commonly reported symptom of the illness.

After visiting Grand River Health, Mayfield received a letter from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that said he had tested positive for COVID-19, and needed to isolate. His wife and son were presumed to be positive for the virus.

“It was one of the most unique experiences. You cough so dang hard your back gets worn out and it hurts every muscle in your body,” Mayfield said.

The family members all reported a dry hacking cough, feeling run down and lethargic. Justin’s wife Jamie ran a low-grade fever for 13 consecutive days. Their son Alistair slept for most of the day. Mayfield joked, “he slept even more than is typical for a normal 17-year-old kid.”

The family stayed in isolation for the full recommended two weeks, but even three weeks later the virus was still affecting them. “There was one day in the middle I felt better,” said Mayfield “but the next day it was back.”

“I experienced weird body aches like knives stabbing my foot one day and the next day it was in my shoulder. My wife had a chest x-ray and the physician said it looked like “COVID lung” and there were two spots of pneumonia beginning to form.”

The family knew how quickly the virus could become serious and purchased a pulse oximeter to monitor their heart rates and oxygen levels. “We were watching and if it dropped, we were going to the ER,” said Mayfield. “We didn’t want to take any chances. It got close. It was in the low nineties.”

The American Lung Association considers 95 to 97 percent normal, and anything below 90 percent a reason to go to the emergency room. “We were also watching our heart rates. Our resting heart rates would be at 60 beats per minute and jump to 125 or 145 just getting a glass of water from the kitchen.”

After the illness, Mayfield tested positive for COVID antibodies. “I have the COVID antibodies, and though I don’t have to wear a mask now, when I’m at work I usually do,” he said. “I’m trying to lead by example. We want to go back to normal and handwashing and social distancing seem to be the key to doing that.”

Responding to those who are reluctant to take COVID precautions, Mayfield offers, “It is frustrating to hear people blow it off. It is real and it is very serious. Find someone who has it and spend a night with them, and then see how real it is the next day. Come hang out with me and you will realize it’s not made up.”

Mayfield admitted that in the past he and his wife often tried to tough out illnesses, going to work if possible. “We have learned, don’t try to power through. That is how you are going to infect everybody. We were those people, don’t be those people.”

Mayfield acknowledged that had schools not closed before springs break, his wife who is a teacher, would likely have gone to work and unknowingly infected kids at school who in turn could have infected their families.

The CDC, and health experts point to four simple strategies to fight the virus, staying home when sick, wearing a personal face covering, maintaining social distancing and practicing good personal hygiene. Staying home in isolation for those who are sick, and quarantine for those that feel they have been exposed is critical.

Sergeant Mayfield will share his personal experience with COVID in a live-stream Friday, June 26, at 10:30 a.m. on the City of Glenwood Springs Facebook page. Joining him will be public health epidemiology nurse Sara Brainard to discuss the changing COVID landscape, data trends, and the contact tracing process.

Oficial de Policía de Parachute comparte lucha personal con COVID-19

CONDADO DE GARFIELD, CO – Mientras el Sargento de Policía Justin Mayfield, de 42 años, camina por su garaje, se puede escuchar una respiración agitada, una indicación de la falta de aliento que aún persiste 14 semanas después de su pelea con COVID-19.

“Hay tanto que no sabemos acerca de cuánto tiempo duran las secuelas de la enfermedad.  Todavía me canso al levantarme agarrar algo o hacer una tarea trivial en el garaje.  Estoy mejorando cada día, pero no he vuelto a donde estaba antes de COVID “.

Mayfield sentía que se estaba enfermando unos días después de regresar de un entrenamiento en el Condado de Eagle a principios de marzo de 2020, cuando la pandemia de COVID apenas empezaba a presentarse allí.  Después del entrenamiento, Mayfield regreso a trabajar como siempre, pero a los tres días empezó a sentirse enfermo.  Al cuarto día, su esposa y su hijo adolescente también comenzaron a sentirse enfermos.  “Creo que en el entrenamiento pudo haber sido donde me contagie.  Simplemente no lo sabes.”  dijo Mayfield.

Mayfield y su hijo sabían que algo andaba mal cuando su sentido del olfato y del gusto se volvieron “desagradables”.  “Acabábamos de comprar pollo fresco y cuando lo olí, pensé que olía completamente mal como si se hubiera hecho malo.”  Mi hijo entró y dijo que la cena olía a podrido.”  La pérdida del gusto es un síntoma comúnmente reportado de la enfermedad.

Después de visitar la Clínica de Grand River, Mayfield recibió una carta del CDC que decía que había dado positivo por COVID-19 y necesitaba aislarse.  Y se sospechó que su esposa e hijo eran positivos para el virus.

“Fue una experiencia única. Toses con tanta fuerza que la espalda se desgasta y duele cada músculo de su cuerpo.”

La familia reportó una tos seca, sintiéndose con mucha fatiga y letárgica. La esposa de Justin, Jamie, tuvo fiebre baja durante 13 días consecutivos. Su hijo Alistair durmió la mayor parte del día. Mayfield bromeó: “dormía más de lo normal de un niño de 17 años.”

La familia permaneció aislada durante las dos semanas recomendadas, pero tres semanas después, el virus todavía los estaba afectando. “Hubo un día que me sentí mejor a medio día,” dijo Mayfield, “pero al día siguiente me sentía mal nuevamente.”

“Experimenté dolores extraños en el cuerpo como cuchillos apuñalando mi pie un día y al día siguiente el dolor estaba en mi hombro. Mi esposa se hizo una radiografía de tórax y el médico dijo que parecía “pulmón de COVID” y que había dos manchas de neumonía que empezaron a formarse “.

La familia sabía que el virus podía volverse grave rápidamente y compró un oxímetro de pulso para monitorear su frecuencia cardíaca y sus niveles de oxígeno. “Estábamos mirando y si se caía, iríamos a la sala de emergencias. No queríamos arriesgarnos. Estuvo cerca. Estuvimos en los bajos noventa.”  La Asociación Americana del Pulmón considera que entre el 95 y el 97 por ciento es normal y cualquier cifra por debajo del 90 por ciento es razón para ir a la sala de emergencias. “También estábamos observando nuestro ritmo cardíaco. Nuestra frecuencia cardíaca en reposo era de 60 latidos por minuto y saltaba a 125 o 145 cuando iba a la cocina por un vaso de agua.”

Después de la enfermedad, Mayfield dio positivo por anticuerpos de COVID. “Tengo los anticuerpos COVID, y aunque no tengo que usar un cubre bocas cuando estoy en el trabajo, generalmente lo hago. Estoy tratando de dar el ejemplo. Queremos volver a la normalidad y el lavado de manos y el distanciamiento social parecen ser la clave para hacerlo.”

Respondiendo a aquellos que se reúsan a tomar precauciones contra COVID, Mayfield dice: “Es frustrante escuchar a la gente no importarle. Es real y es muy serio.

Encuentra a alguien que lo tenga y pasa una noche con ellos y luego ve que tan real es al día siguiente. Ven a pasar un rato conmigo y te darás cuenta de que no está inventado.”

Mayfield admitió que en el pasado él y su esposa a menudo trataban de resistir enfermedades, yendo a trabajar si era posible. “Hemos aprendido, no trates de lucharlo. Así es como vas a infectar a todos. Éramos esa gente, no seas esa gente.”

Mayfield reconoció que, si las escuelas no hubieran cerrado antes de las vacaciones de primavera, su esposa, que es maestra, probablemente habría ido a trabajar y sin saberlo habría infectado a niños en la escuela que a su vez podrían haber infectado a sus familias.

Los CDC y los expertos en salud señalan cuatro estrategias simples para combatir el virus, quedarse en casa cuando están enfermos, usar un cubre bocas, mantener distanciamiento social y practicar una buena higiene personal.  Quedarse en Casa aislado para aquellos que estén enfermos, y la cuarentena para aquellos que sienten que han estado expuestos es fundamental.

El Sargento Mayfield compartirá su experiencia personal con COVID en una transmisión en vivo el viernes 26 de junio a las 10:30 am en la pagina de Facebook de la Ciudad de Glenwood Springs. Junto a él estará la enfermera de epidemiología de Salud Pública, Sara Brainard, para analizar cómo está cambiando el panorama de COVID, las tendencias de datos y el proceso de búsqueda de contactos.

Parachute officer shares personal struggle with COVID-19

Town of Parachute allocates $100,000 to small businesses

Parachute and Battlement Mesa businesses can apply for up to $2,000 grant funding

Parachute, CO — April 27, 2020 Today, the Town of Parachute announced immediate availability of the Business Interim Relief Program (BIRP) grant application open to all small businesses within Parachute and Battlement Mesa with 12 or less employees.  The Town has allocated $100,000 to support local businesses with overhead expenses such as rent, mortgage, and utilities up to $2,000 per business.  Once the application is received and approved, the Town will work with individual business owners to pay overhead bills directly.

“The Town wants to help our community’s current businesses succeed despite the current situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic guidelines,” said Stuart McArthur, Town Manager of the Town of Parachute.  This local grant funding is less restrictive than federal relief funds and provides businesses direct contact with the Town.

The Business Interim Relief Program (BIRP) Availability

The Business Interim Relief Program (BIRP) is the Town of Parachute’s commitment to the local businesses and their success.   Applications are available for download immediately at the Town’s website, https://www.colorado.gov/parachutecolorado.

For more information on The Business Interim Relief Program (BIRP)
https://www.colorado.gov/parachutecolorado

Town of Parachute allocates $100,000 to small businesses