I arrived in Tulsa on Friday, February 14, Valentine’s Day. Not a valentine in sight! But that’s ok, I wouldn’t expect a kiss on this Valentine’s Day anyway. I have to wear a mask so it would be awkward.
The CDC said they would contact me immediately if there was a problem. By Sunday, the Health Department contacted my daughter as I listed her as my emergency contact. I don’t have a working phone in the USA.
The Tulsa Health Department needed to reach me. They needed to interview, ask me questions, and monitor my temperature readings. Ok! This doesn’t sound like too much of an emergency. I had expected this. My friends who are from Mississippi and who left Beijing a week before me said the Health Department is monitoring them, as well. I’ve had a couple more friends return to the USA and the procedure appears to be the same.
It sounds routine. Ok, That’s fine.
I told my daughter, Amy to call them and tell them they could come anytime. I wasn’t going anywhere!
I feel a bit like ET and think of the famous line, “I’ll be right here.” However, I don’t have the long glowing finger. I consider that a good thing!
The Health Department officials arranged to meet me on Sunday after 10am in my home.
I notified my neighbors and told them not to become alarmed if they see a vehicle from the Health Department arrive in my driveway.
Luckily, they arrived in an unmarked vehicle. They asked questions at the door, asked to see my temperature readings, then proceeded to come inside. I of course, kept my mask on the whole time. They gave me a few more masks to have for later.
I answered their questions:
Where have you been?
Why were you there?
How long have you been there?
Have you had a fever?
Have you been in contact with anyone from Wuhan?
What flight were you on?
What seat were you in?
There were others, but I don’t remember them.
They monitored my temperature reading and it was normal. They explained they would expect a temperature reading twice a day, once by email and the other would be monitored in my home.
They asked if I had questions. I asked how many people do they see a day in relation to the coronavirus? They could not answer that question as it was confidential.
I asked if there had been quite a few people return to Oklahoma from China. They could not answer that question as it was confidential.
I asked why they didn’t wear a mask when they entered my home? They said they knew from my temperature recordings over the past two days and how cautious I appear that they weren’t in danger. I kept my mask on my face.
I told them I was impressed that they didn’t arrive in a marked car. They said they arrive in unmarked vehicles so as not to cause alarm. Makes sense. How many houses do these people visit? And, it’s not just for CoronaVirus. They visit all homes of people who the CDC tag as a “potential threat to the public.” What a job to have, eh?
So if you are feeling scared of being infected by this virus or any other, consider how these people must feel. They are the first to be in contact with them, er …uh…us, I mean.
Wow, that’s crazy! I guess we never know when we might become one of “them.” Whoever “them” are. I just feel we need to be more kind and less judgmental toward everyone, you just never know what lurks around the next bend.
I was left with a hand out about the Virus.
“What you need to know about 2019 Novel Coronavirus”
What are the symptoms of 2019-nCoV?
fever, cough, shortness of breath.
I have not had any of these nor do I know anyone who has had these symptoms.
I had a few papers to complete and sign. There is a “Symptom Monitoring Form for Returning Travelers” which includes two weeks of recording the following:
check of temperature twice daily
documenting the presence or absence of the following:
muscle aches, headache, abdominal discomfort, vomiting, diarrhea.
So far, the answer is no to all of these questions.
As far as the temperature readings, I email my temperature each day at the same time to the Health Department. The second temperature reading is monitored.
One of the Health Department employees came for two days afterward to monitor me taking my temperature.
Now, the second temperature reading is a Skype monitoring. They are very considerate of my time and always call before my online classes begin at 5:30pm.
There were actually three ways I could have been monitored:
- I take my on temperature and watch for symptoms on my own and just report to them by telephone
- Take temperature and record absence or presence of symptoms on my own and once by health department officials
- A Tulsa Health Department official will conduct TWO in person visits each day and document all recordings.
During my quarantine period I have to exclude myself from travel outside Tulsa County unless I have permission, but it could only be in my personal vehicle.
I must exclude myself from public places; shopping centers, movie theaters, and group gatherings.
Exclude myself from workplaces 🙂
The best one was I could go jog outside, walk a pet, ride a bike as long as a maintain a 3-6 feet distance from others.
I have no intention of going outside for a jog or bike ride until after the 29th. Then it will only be limited for a while. I am being considerate of the feelings of others during this trying time.
If I have a medical emergency and must contact 911, (if I can dial it from my China carrier) I must identify myself as a recent traveler from a novel coronavirus outbreak country. After 14 days, I am good to go!
I must say being quarantined in my own home isn’t that bad! I have the most wonderful friends who keep me supplied with groceries, lunches and dinners! Some are running my errands and cleaning my yard. Others stand out in the cold and visit with me while I am inside where it is warm. I am just amazed at the incredible “homecoming.”
I may just extend my quarantine if I can keep receiving all of these wonderful treats and visitors at my door everyday! : )
Not knowing what to expect when I decided to leave China, I decided it was best if very few people knew I was coming home. It was a rush job to get internet, transportation and some groceries in my house before I arrived. I didn’t know if I would get through the screenings at the airport, or quarantined somewhere besides my home since I stayed a considerably longer time in China. We (teachers) had no idea what was really going on due to so many conflicting news reports. I didn’t know what the reception would be like. But the man at the airport was my first realization that “It was ok that I came home.” Thank you man at DFW airport!
Since I was able to pass all the screenings and health checks, I chose to announce my arrival since people kept asking when I was coming home and I was already here. I couldn’t lie and say I wasn’t home.
Plus when I was convinced that I wasn’t going to be #4 on the list of “People under investigation for Coronavirus” and becoming “Breaking News” on the local tv stations, I thought it would be ok to share my whereabouts. I just wanted to be as transparent as possible as I sensed the concern over the spread of the virus. Understandably. But, I also began to realize there was a genuine concern for my health and safety. I am absolutely in awe of all of the well wishing and friendship I’ve encountered over the past week.
This experience is far from over. We (teachers at our school) received an interesting email, just yesterday, from our school principal.
How will this end?