GARDENDALE, Ala. (WIAT) — In the city of Gardendale, Mayor Stan Hogeland took to Facebook Monday to let the community know that one of their own had tested positive for COVID-19.
Today, she is speaking out with the hope that her story encourages others to take the coronavirus seriously.
To protect her privacy, CBS agreed to only use her first name, “Darlene.”
On Saturday, Darlene was among the many people in line for testing in Hoover. She had recently returned from a trip to Italy.
“We went to eight places and it seemed like we were trying to outrun the corona, but we did not know about it until a week into our trip,” Darlene said.
After returning to Alabama, Darlene followed guidelines and alerted the health department, but wasn’t tested until this past weekend when she saw Assurance Labs set up on Acton Road.
“Sunday, I received a positive report, which shocked me because I had did not have any symptoms in Europe or since I have been home,” she said.
Now, Darlene’s daughter and other family members are also getting tested while she remains in quarantine. Knowing that others could also be carrying the virus without showing symptoms, Darlene is now urging people to listen to health leaders.
“There is just no reason why not to take this seriously,” she said. “When I was in Venice and the prime minister closed Mardi Gras down and all events, we got out.”
As Darlene adjusts to life at home, she’s sharing her story on social media, where she says some have been rude and even threatening, prompting Hogeland to remind neighbors to be kind.
“We don’t know who all is going to be infected,” Hogeland said. “These people when they do get this, we as just good neighbors, we need to support them, we need to pray for them, we need to do everything we can to help them.”
Tonight, Darlene feels blessed she’s not feeling sick and is reminding people she didn’t ask for this infection, but like the rest of the country, she’s doing her best to adapt to this virus.
“I am concerned about Alabama,” she said. “I am concerned about the world, I pray every night, I pray for peace.”
As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, there are 39 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Alabama.
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