March 23, 2020 / Modified mar 23, 2020 11:04 a.m.

UA student tests positive for COVID-19, describes experience

The student, who is recovering in quarantine, says she was tested because she had asthma.

The events in this story occurred while the University of Arizona was closed or on spring recess. Students did not return to campus at the end of the break. They were instead directed to online classes and all group meetings, social and athletic events on the campus were canceled.


Lauren is a student at the University of Arizona. On Friday, she received the news that her test for COVID-19 was positive.

AZPM spoke with her Saturday night from her home in Tucson by Zoom. She said that was the first day she hadn’t had a fever in five days.

“I started showing symptoms on Tuesday. Tuesday afternoon is when my symptoms really started to peak. It was weird because, like, I would be fine and then I wasn’t fine. I couldn’t really tell and with all the scare going around, I was very scared. I was like, 'I hope it’s not the coronavirus,'” she said.

Lauren said she had a sore throat, body aches, a severe cough and a strong headache for days. She was tested for coronavirus on Wednesday after a flu test came back negative. Her doctor gave her the test because she has asthma, which put her at higher risk.

The UA student has been in quarantine since she became sick, but before that she was not.

“I was out Saturday night [March 14], I went to Gentle Ben's on University [Boulevard] and I was also at — that same night, previously before Gentle Ben's — I was at Walmart picking up some stuff for my dad and I was not showing any symptoms. I hadn’t been. I felt completely healthy. You know, I was around people, in close contact with people, and I do feel bad about that,” Lauren said.

While she was out that night, she met a group of people from Canada and Seattle. She contacted them after she got sick, but said none of them is ill.

Lauren stayed at home for her treatment, following doctor’s orders to use over-the-counter medications along with cold showers and ice packs to help keep her fever down.

After her experience, Lauren said she has a message for people.

“It's very important for people to know this is real. When I had told some of my friends that I tested positive for the coronavirus, I was hit back with replies like: ‘Oh my goodness, it's real? This is a real thing?’ And that really shocked me because I was already very scared, I was taking this very seriously. And I think for my age group and maybe just for everyone, honestly, I think that there are people out there who don’t think this is a real thing, that it's not going to affect them, and I just want everyone to know that this can affect you. If you are not feeling symptoms definitely stay home because you don’t want to feel them. I wasn’t feeling symptoms and I still got it,” said Lauren.

Doctors told her that she has to stay quarantined for seven days after she stops showing symptoms, unless her dad comes down with it. If that happens, she has to stay in isolation until he is symptom free.

She said she is expecting to be quarantined for a month.

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