Richmond couple tests positive for coronavirus, warns others

Updated: Mar. 19, 2020 at 5:51 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Joseph Papa and his husband, JS Fauquet, both tested positive for the coronavirus after taking separate trips to the northeast and are warning others to take the illness seriously.

The days go on, but Papa is stuck in the same place: his home in the city’s West End. He and Fauquet are there by choice, to help stop the spread of the virus.

“We could tell something was up, and it didn’t feel like allergies. It didn’t feel like a cold. It sort of felt like a bad cold, but we could tell that it was likely something more. It was just a strange few days,” Papa said about the first time they noticed their symptoms.

He believes he and his husband may have gotten the illness while on separate work trips to New York and Philadephia.

They both returned to Richmond last week, and that’s when Fauquet started showing signs of infection

“The second he had a fever, we called our doctor. Just knowing that we had been traveling, and certainly paying attention to the news and everything that was going on, we called right away,” Papa said.

Both of their positive results just came back earlier this week, and so their choice of self-quarantine became a medical necessity.

When asked how they’re getting through the week, Papa said it required “a lot of sleep, water, Netflix, curling up on the couch with the dog. We’re really trying to take it easy.”

He does, however, call their infection a wake-up call: Two healthy men in their 30s prove that no one is immune to the virus, and Papa hopes that people take heed.

“It made me wish that, as a country, we had heeded the warning that we’d see in other countries. Two weeks ago, we were having the conversation around social distancing - that sort of thing that we’re having now. I think we’d be in a better place if more people - including us - were taking it more seriously," he added.

Papa says that he and Fauquet have been taking direction from the state health department, and will remain in self-quarantine until they are asymptomatic.

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