SAN RAFAEL (CBS SF) — While most San Francisco Bay Area county health officials must rely on antidotes about what it’s like to suffer through a coronavirus infection, Marin County’s chief health officer Matt Willis can give a first hand account.

It was 16 days ago when Willis reported he had tested positive for the illness and was displaying moderate symptoms. He immediately isolated himself from his family and went into a quarantine. He has been without a fever for the last four days, but still has a ways to go in his recovery.

“At the time I was diagnosed, I was optimistic because my symptoms were mild,” he said in a YouTube Video. “I underestimated how serious my illness would be. I developed a viral pneumonia that landed me in bed for about 12 days with a fever, cough, chest tightness and fatigue. In Day 10 of my illness, I spent some time in one of our emergency departments because I was having shortness of breath.”

He lauded the staff for being calm and efficient in handling his urgent needs.

“It was highly reassuring as a patient and as a public health officer,” Willis said. “In the end, my chest x-ray was okay and because I had great support I was able to return home.”

Willis said he was also surprised how dependent he was on his family for support.

“I’m relatively healthy, but I’ve needed help for almost everything at home,” he said. “I know if I were more frail or older or that I didn’t have the amazing support of my wife and kids, and from our friends and neighbors, things might not have gone so well.”

“This experience re-enforced for me how important it is to take aggressive action to protect ourselves and our most vulnerable residents and our health care workers — To do this is to do less. To stay home.”

Over the last several weeks, the illness has undergone a surge among Marin County’s older population. On Tuesday, officials reported three new deaths, an outbreak at a senior care facility and 148 confirmed coronavirus cases since the outbreak began in the county. There were 27 patients being treated as of Tuesday for the coronavirus in the county’s hospitals.

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