Richmond couple who tested positive for COVID-19 warns others: ‘Stay at home’


RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A Richmond couple in self-isolation is sharing their story with 8News after testing positive for the coronavirus. The pair, who told 8News they were healthy, are warning others that no one is immune to the disease.

“It’s been a very surreal experience and to be one of the first to have it locally,” said Joseph Papa. Papa along with his husband JS Fauquet, both in their 30s, were diagnosed with the deadly coronavirus after traveling outside of state lines for business.

“Both my husband and I had work trips that took us to New York and Philadelphia at the beginning of the month and it’s highly possible that we picked it up there,” Papa said in a FaceTime interview with 8News Friday. “Our trips were separate and we reconnected in Richmond and did not have any symptoms for over a week.”

Papa says what started out as a fever transitioned into the pair exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19: body aches, chills, fatigue, and shortness of breath.

“Sort of feels like you can take a full breath in, but only about 70 percent of the air you take in goes where it needs to go,” Papa told 8News, describing what the shortness of breath felt like.

The couple took the test last Friday and learned of their positive results this week. Since then, the pair have been self-quarantined in their Richmond West End home. Each will stay quarantined until they both show no signs of COVID-19 for three straight days.

Upon sharing their story with 8News, they urge others on the fence about the seriousness of the outbreak to take it seriously.

“If you’re going out and it’s not a necessary act for you to be out there, you’re spreading it and that’s really the message,” Papa said. “Stay at home as much as possible.”



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