By Tom Blake

In early June, my partner, Greta, and I were in Palm Springs, tidying up our vacation home, in anticipation of a new tenant arriving on July 1.

The last thing we needed to take care was to get the cable TV hookup in the living room working properly. The morning of June 9, a Spectrum TV repairman came to our home to put things in order. He was wearing a mask, and I was wearing a mask. Greta was well-distanced in another room, away from the guy and me.

I did get within two feet of him for two minutes to hold the TV from tumbling over as he readjusted cables in the back of the set. Problem fixed in 45 minutes. Greta and I returned to Dana Point.

Eight days later, on June 17, a Spectrum TV executive telephoned to inform us that the repairman came down with COVID-19 the day after he was at our house. Greta and I were horrified.

I immediately notified my doctor. He ordered me to get tested, because I had been in close contact with the repairman, although neither Greta nor I had experienced any symptoms and our temperatures were below 97 degrees. He said she didn’t need to be tested, unless my results came back positive.  

The earliest available test date was Friday the 19th, two days later. It was a drive-through experience at Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo. I asked the doctor when results would be available.

He said, “It’s too early to know. The results will take two or more days.”

Greta and I sheltered in place that weekend, a bit preoccupied, hoping we would hear the results on Monday. But no word.

On Tuesday, four days after being tested—and two weeks after the encounter with the repairman—I sent a reminder email to my doctor that I was awaiting the results. His reply: “It’s too early to know. No results yet. Stay safe.”

Wednesday, no results. It was now 15 days after being exposed. Greta and I were going a little crazy; however, we both felt no symptoms.

Thursday morning, six days after the test, still no word. I emailed my doctor again, saying, “This is ridiculous.”

At noon, an email arrived from him: “Your results are negative.”

Greta and I gave each other a hug. The doctor added, “Continue to be careful. The number of cases in California is growing.”

The lesson learned from our experience: if anyone enters your home, for repair or cleaning or just a visit, ensure masks are on everybody and keep your distance. If possible, put off the visit until things change regarding the virus.

Greta and I still enjoy happy hours with friends, but they are on Zoom.

Don’t become complacent, thinking the worst is over. Unfortunately, it’s not. A person testing negative can test positive in a future test. Our hope is that you don’t encounter the words, “It’s too early to know,” at least in the context of how we experienced them.

Tom Blake is a retired Dana Point business owner and San Clemente resident who has authored books on middle-aged dating. See his website at findingloveafter50.com. To comment: tompblake@gmail.com.

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