When Ole Miss Junior, Kara Tate, packed her bags and left for a semester abroad in Italy, the last thing she expected to come home with was Coronavirus.
“I flew in to Knoxville on a Wednesday, and when I got home that night I was burning up and had developed a dry cough. By the next morning, I had chills/body aches so we took my temperature the next morning and it was 102,” Tate said.
Tate took the appropriate measures to social distance after seeing what her temperature was.
“I self-quarantined immediately because I was showing symptoms. I’m really glad that I played it safe and didn’t go out in public because when I got back my positive results I knew that I did my best to not expose it to anyone,” Tate said.
Getting a test for the virus was easier said than done.
“When I started showing symptoms there weren’t nearly as many tests available in the US as there are now. We called the Health Department who recommended that I go get tested at an urgent care for the flu and strep,” Tate said. “When both of those came back negative, we called the health department back and it took four different phone calls with health officials to get me approved for testing.”
Although Tate arrived home from Italy, the process for getting a test done was not quick.
“My family thought it was kind of odd that they were so apprehensive about testing me considering that I had just came from Italy and was showing nearly every symptom. The test itself took almost no time at all,” Tate said. “I was in and out in less than ten minutes. I was also the first person in my county to be tested and I could tell the nurses were nervous. I got tested on a Friday, and they had to send my tests to Nashville to get results. I got the call on Sunday that I had tested positive.”
The news of testing positive was surreal for Tate.
“I had convinced myself that I didn’t have Coronavirus, so when I got the results I was kind of shocked. I was really worried about other people knowing that I had it because of how they might react,” Tate said. “I spent awhile trying to figure out how to tell people or if I even should. I just knew the panic it would cause.”
Along with struggling on how to tell people, Tate was sad about the two week isolation period.
“I was also pretty upset because I had to completely self-isolate for 14 days, and I felt bad that my parents, my brother, and his fiancé all had to self quarantine due to me testing positive. I hated feeling like I had interfered with other lives,” Tate said. “I had midterms the first week of my quarantine, so it made the time pass quicker.”
Once those two weeks of self isolation were finally over, Tate was cleared by the Health Department on Wednesday, March 25th.
“I am really grateful that I had a mild experience with it,” Tate said. “I feel like since I’ve had it I’ve been able to give some of my friends and family peace because they now know someone who has survived it, but I never want that to underscore the fact that it is taking countless lives, making it so important for people to stay home and flatten the curve.”
Even though her time in Italy was cut short, Tate is receiving some class credit from her time spent abroad.
“I’m getting class credit, but since I had extra hours I chose to take fun courses that don’t benefit my major. I’m enrolled in a wine class, Mediterranean cooking class, and a walking tours of Florence class, all of which I have to do online now,” Tate said.
Tate wishes she could be with her friends soaking up the sun in Oxford.
“Oxford is stunning in the springtime and I’d give just about anything to be there with my friends right now. We’d be spending warm days at Sardis and I hate that everyone has to miss it,” Tate said.
Tate plans on making her upcoming senior year memorable.
“I definitely will not being taking anything for granted next year. I am heartbroken for my friends who had their last months of their senior year taken from them. I think it’s going to be a really different feeling next year when we’re all together, just being really thankful that we actually can be together and experience our “last’ everything.”