ORLANDO, Fla. – It's the last thing the young couple expected to hear, but they said they knew right away when COVID-19 hit their family.
“I told my husband, we have the virus, we have COVID-19 I know it,” Karol Costa said.
[CORONAVIRUS BRIEFING: Daily ClickOrlando.com newsletter delivered to your inbox]
Costa, 32, and her husband, Gabriel Fernandez, 33, own Forever Young CrossFit in Orlando. Both of the fitness enthusiasts said their daily activities include working out at their gym, and chasing after their toddler, Martin. It came as a shock when all three members of the family contracted coronavirus in the second week of March.
"The quarantine wasn't even in place when we actually got the virus," Costa said.
They were some of the earliest cases in the county, according to the doctors and nurses who treated them.
According to the timeline, on March 7 Central Florida saw its first case of COVID-19 after a 66-year-old Volusia County woman tested positive. It was around that same time the couple said they likely contracted the virus, with no knowledge of who may have given it to them.
Fernandez said calls to their doctor, were often met with more questions than answers.
"They actually called us to gather information, you call to make an appointment with the doctor and the nurse starts asking you questions, oh so you got it, what are you feeling? " Fernandez said.
Karol was the only member of the family to be tested after her symptoms worsened.
“I had muscle pain I was really weak, I was, I started I lost my taste and smell,” Costa said.
Days later she described feeling faint and noticed a blueish tint to her skin which prompted a trip to the hospital for a test. Three days later, a nurse called and confirmed she tested positive for COVID-19. Costa said the nurse recommended all three members of the family remain in quarantine.
"She told me at the moment they don't even need to come in to get tested, they already have the COVID because it's extremely contagious," Costa said.
Costa described how different the symptoms were for each member of the family. The couple’s two-year-old son had a fever and was congested, while Fernandez said he was hardly able to get out of bed, had chills and lost his appetite. Costa’s symptoms remained the most severe, she described her shortness of breath feeling like breathing through a straw.
"We are healthy, we workout, we eat well, we're always active, we have a very active lifestyle, so for us it was really a shock that it happened to us and we actually happened to have like more serious symptoms, especially trouble breathing," Costa said.
The couple said after spending weeks resting, drinking hot liquids, eating nutrient-rich meals and meditating, all three members of the family are recovering well.
"It's not only the physical it's the mental, it's just, you're so stuck on the anxiety, on the stress, on the fear, that you, all you think about it just negative stuff," Fernandez said.
Costa said she was prescribed Albuterol to help with her breathing, five weeks after her symptoms began. Both Fernandez and the couple’s son have been symptom-free for more than a week.
The couple said they would like to donate plasma to help other patients, but have not been able to be tested for antibodies.