FOX40 chief photographer shares story about family members coping with COVID-19

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HAWAII (KTXL) – No one is immune to the impact of COVID-19, including us here at FOX40 News.

In the last week of March, our chief photographer Grant Hansen learned he would be impacted by the virus in a way he never expected.

Hansen’s brother, Leland Hansen, and his sister-in-law, Samantha, have a story just like many of us. Leland is a captain in the Army and Samantha is a registered nurse and clinical educator.

“We met in the third grade at Roanoke Catholic in Roanoke, Virginia,” Samantha told FOX40. “We moved to Hawaii last August because my husband is on military orders.”

Shortly after settling in, their son, Marek, was born.

“The day that Marek was born was probably one of the best days. He’s definitely been the light of our life since coming into the world,” said Samantha.

But last week, everything changed.

“I noticed that I was really tired and started to feel some body aches coming on,” recalled Samantha. “I was really cold all night and decided to take my temperature. And my temperature was only 99.6, so I didn’t think much of it. But that day I just didn’t feel well, so I called out of work.”

Out of an abundance of caution, Samantha’s boss requested that she get tested for COVID-19 before returning to the hospital.

“The first thing that went through my mind was there is no way. I was in denial. I could not believe that somehow I was infected,” said Samantha. “I take hand hygiene really seriously. I’ve been doing everything right, I felt like there’s just no way that I could possibly have a positive test. It was extremely surprising.”

“My symptoms went against everything that I had been reading about. So it was just a shock.”

After that initial reaction, the gravity of the test results set in for their family.

“If he’s positive we needed to know. Because they had separated me from him, I could only see him in my bedroom to feed him,” said Samantha.

Those results for little Marek proved what they had already been bracing for.

“It was terrifying to know that my first … my only child, who takes a lot of work, was positive. It was very scary because we don’t know enough about the virus to know that he was going to be OK,” explained Samantha.

The symptoms both mother and baby are experiencing are mild.

“So, we’ve both just had some congestion. No fever for the past week, thankfully,” said Samantha. “Marek actually never had a fever.  So, we’re really blessed to have mild symptoms during this time because it could have been a lot worse.”

While their family is dealing with the symptoms of the novel coronavirus well, they did have this warning for people who are not taking this situation seriously.

“Every time that you go out, you’re risking someone else’s life. And while you may not think it’s serious to you, it is serious to the people around you,” said Samantha.

Samantha went on to add that hospitals around the world are in need of mask and glove donations. If you have some to offer, it could make a huge difference for those on the front lines.

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