Grand Lake’s town manager recovering from COVID-19 in isolation
John Crone hopes others will hear his story and take precautions too
Grand Lake’s town manager is recovering in isolation, exhausted and missing his family, but feeling a lot better since coming down with a case of COVID-19.
Responding to questions from the Sky-Hi News on Tuesday, John Crone confirmed that he tested positive last week for COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus.
Schelly Olson, a spokesperson for the county’s COVID-19 response team, said county officials have traced Crone’s steps and notified anyone identified as being at a heightened risk of exposure after coming into close contact with Crone. She added that anyone who had contact but has not been notified by the county’s health department has been ruled out for being at a higher risk.
“It is a timeframe of exposure risk that is investigated for each positive case, so if you haven’t been notified, you’re not identified as someone in close contact with someone who tested positive within the timeframe of risk,” Olson explained.
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Crone and his family have a home in Summit County and a condo in Grand County, as Crone previously worked for the town of Winter Park before becoming Grand Lake’s town manager in November.
However, Crone said the last time he was in Summit, where there have been 10 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, was on March 6, so it’s more likely he contracted the virus in Grand County. That would suggest there has been community spread, which has not yet been confirmed by the limited number of tests performed here.
Regardless how Crone contracted COVID-19, he wasn’t showing symptoms during the Grand Lake Board of Trustees meeting on March 9, when the town’s response to the coronavirus was high on the agenda.
Exactly one week later, as the same elected officials held an emergency meeting to ramp up the town’s coronavirus response, Crone was physically absent and wired in through a speakerphone. Over the phone, he told the board he was feeling ill and isolating as a precaution, though he didn’t think he had the coronavirus based on his symptoms.
Recalling his week, Crone said he began sweating on his way into work that Monday morning and that was the first sign he saw that he might be getting sick. Crone said he immediately turned his car around, went to his condo and has been isolating there ever since.
“Since I started showing symptoms, I have not been in contact in any way with anyone,” Crone said, emphasizing how important self-isolation is to stopping viral outbreaks.
He didn’t think he had COVID-19 at the time, but Crone still took precautions to segregate himself from others. He’s really glad he did too because he was tested for the virus Tuesday and he got the results back Saturday.
The way Crone described his week, it was hell and possibly one of the worst of his life. He estimated that he lost about 20 pounds during the whole ordeal, which has left him weak and tired.
“It’s been difficult, especially during the worst of it,” Crone said. “It was really difficult.”
He had supplies dropped off at his front door, and he hasn’t seen his family in person since he fell ill. Crone said he’s not showing any more symptoms, except that he’s still exhausted. He’s also still working from home and isolating for the time being.
“I’ll be quarantining myself another week just to be safe,” Crone said, adding that anyone who shows signs of sickness should do the same to prevent spreading the virus.
Grand County Public Health did not release Crone’s name after he tested positive for COVID-19 out of privacy concerns for the patient, Olson said. However, Crone said that he agreed to speak to the newspaper out of hope his experience might ease some people’s fears and lead others to take precautions.
“(COVID-19) can get anyone, and if you suspect anything, isolate yourself,” Crone said. “This is not a virus you want to get or that you want to give to anyone.”
So far, the number of COVID-19 cases in Grand County is holding steady at two with another case with close ties to the county reported. As more testing becomes available, those numbers will only rise, and Grand County Public Health has issued a stay-at-home advisory for residents while warning guests the county is not a safe haven from the coronavirus.
Meanwhile, Crone is still recovering in isolation and his family is doing well, he said.
His family hasn’t shown any symptoms of the virus, which is somewhat interesting because they visited him the day before he became ill. Also, Crone’s wife is a health care provider at St. Anthony Summit Medical Center, where Colorado’s first confirmed case of the virus was found.
“I miss them, but other than that, we’re all doing pretty well,” Crone said of his family. “I’m bouncing back hard, just exhausted.”
Like many people, Crone is looking forward to the return of some normalcy once the coronavirus has subsided. He doesn’t know how long that might take, but he’s hoping for a speedy return to everyday life.
More than anything, Crone is grateful for everyone who reached out to offer him help, including dropping off food, supplies or whatever he needed. He said all that support “showed a lot about the character of Grand County’s people.”
“We have to understand this is not normal,” Crone said of the coronavirus. “This is a unique situation, and it is going to be rough on all of us. We have to stick together. We have to look out for our friends and our neighbors, and hopefully we’ll get through this sooner than later.”
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