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Now recovered, Hinsdale woman who had COVID-19 points to mild cases

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HINSDALE — There was "nothing severe" about Suzanne Polo's experience with the new coronavirus.

The 56-year-old Hinsdale resident said she made a full recovery after contracting COVID-19 last month, describing her symptoms as less severe than even the flu. She got the virus at the same time as her boyfriend, she said, and he shared her experience.

Sharing the virus inspired the couple to get married, she said. They picked up marriage certificates Thursday.

Polo said she wants the community to know that many likely have it and don't know it.

"At first, I was frustrated because I didn't feel like the word out there was what was really going on," she said. "I just wanted to tell people that it's here and it's affecting people that we love."

"But, I also wanted to tell people that it wasn't necessarily killing everybody, either."

Her symptoms started March 12, she said, citing a headache, sore throat and a slight fever. She also noted occasional body aches and soreness in her rib cage.

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She knew this was something different, she said, because the symptoms never escalated into something that fully resembled a cold or a flu.

"It felt like something right in between," she said.

Having just heard about the county's first case March 7, she said she and her boyfriend isolated themselves beginning March 12.

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Polo said she had to push hard to be tested, calling the Berkshire Medical Center hotline several times and continuing to press against resistance. "They finally were like, OK," she said.

Polo and her boyfriend got an appointment at BMC's drive-thru testing tent March 20. The results came back positive two days later, she said.

The virus behaved differently than others she has experienced.

"The symptoms came and went," she said, noting that waves of symptoms came throughout a full two-week period. Symptoms began subsiding around the 10-day mark, she said, at which point she developed a lack of taste and smell.

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"The thing about it is, you feel like you're better and you step back," she said. "It goes back and forth."

At its peak, her body temperature was 100.5 degrees, she said. She also had a mild cough.

Tylenol kept symptoms at bay, but the worst part was the fatigue and the chills, she said.

"It's different with a flu," she said. "With a flu, you're down. And I was definitely sick, but I would get up from a nap and say, 'Oh, that doesn't hurt as much now.' "

Polo said she doesn't mean to downplay the seriousness of the pandemic, but she wants people to know that getting the virus doesn't necessarily mean they will get a severe case.

"I think the majority of people are getting it this way," she said.

Amanda Drane can be contacted at adrane@berkshireeagle.com, @amandadrane on Twitter, and 413-464-2859.


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