By: Katie Kaplan | WCTV Eyewitness News
March 27, 2020
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- A local man who says he said he has been diagnosed with COVID-19 is speaking out with a message he thinks everyone should hear.
"My chest is slightly hurting and I have shortness of breath," said 31-year-old Anthony Johnson. "It got so bad I couldn't roll over when I was laying down."
Johnson lives in Quincy, but is on the front end of a 14-day quarantine in Los Angeles where he fell ill. A member of the Florida National Guard since 2009, he said he was diagnosed with the virus several days after flying out to visit extended family.
"I just want people to know it is serious. I was one of the people who didn't think it was serious and I took it lightly and now that its become my reality, I'm seeing that it's serious," he told WCTV's Katie Kaplan via Facetime Friday night.
He said he started feeling ill on Monday with a headache, body ache and fever, but by Wednesday the pain was unbearable. He said his cousin drove him to an LA area hospital, where he was screened before being admitted.
A doctor diagnosed him with COVID-19.
He stayed the night before being discharged, he said. The hospital sent him home with instructions on self-care, which included the two-week quarantine, directions to get lots of rest and to stay hydrated. He said he has been battling a migraine, chest congestion and stiff neck since he left the hospital.
Johnson is now separated indefinitely from his close-knit immediate family who lives in Gadsden County and Charlotte, North Carolina.
"I'm a momma's boy," he said. "It kind of sucks because I wish I had my mom and my grandma to take care of me."
Johnson's aunt, Jonie Bradwell, said it has been tough to digest the news.
"It became more real to me when it hit home with one of my family members," she said. "To not be able to reach out to him and touch him is very difficult and scary."
The family said they wanted to share the story in hopes it will help convince others to take the matter seriously.
"Follow the curfew and stay home. Protect people and protect yourself," said Johnson.
Johnson said his family has been praying for him from across the country and that his employer has been understanding and willing to working with him.