RICHLAND, WA -There have been thousands of positive COVID-19 cases in our region over the last three months and that's how they've been reported on: cases, numbers, and statistics. However, they are people. They are families. They are our neighbors.
"It's a very quiet illness. so, it can sneak up," said Anne Fritz-Burkhardt. "You don't even know the people that are around you who have it."
She lives in Richland with her family. She is 38 years old. Her husband is 40. Their son is eight. They all have COVID-19 right now.
"I started having some of the symptoms they were saying like loss of smell. I was getting a really chesty cough," said Fritz-Burkhardt. "I just could not like I said I just had to lay there on the bathroom floor and just feel like I was dying."
Three weeks in to the family's positive diagnosis she said breathing and talking take a toll. She had no sense of taste and no energy. For her husband it was much the same. Fortunately, their son is asymptomatic.
"I immediately worried about my parents and grandparents," she said upon receiving the positive diagnosis.
The family had been separated as they followed social distancing and stay at home guidelines. Thankfully, she said the rest of the family has all tested negative for COVID-19.
"This is so exhausting," said Frtiz-Burkhardt. "I am 38. I'm young and have energy to give toward this. The elderly just don't. When it takes this much effort to breathe and to talk, you wonder how an old person could get through this, you know?"
She said she is concerned about the push back in wearing masks and people calling the pandemic a hoax.
"I'm disappointed in the community to see how they've been handling this. I guess for some people it's not true until it happens to them and then sometimes it's too late."
She said even her husband is regretful he didn't wear a mask more often. She and her family are urging people to take care of and protect each other. She also pointed out that adults could be setting an example by wearing their masks as school children will have to wear them in the fall when they go back into classrooms.