JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — State Rep. Angelika Kausche (D-Johns Creek) was told by a physician recently she likely has contracted COVID-19 after her husband tested positive for the virus last week. Kausche, who represents Johns Creek in the Georgia House, said her husband’s doctor told her to assume she had the virus because she has been quarantined with her spouse at home and developed symptoms following his positive test result.
Kausche’s husband, Fabian, developed symptoms the weekend following the March 12 Crossover Day at the Capitol after he returned from an overnight trip to Boston. That weekend, Kausche said Fabian developed cold-like symptoms, but they became worse on March 16. Fabian’s physician told him his office happened to have coronavirus tests. Though there have been many reports of delayed results around the state, Kausche said her husband’s results came back the next day and showed he had contracted the novel coronavirus.
During the March 21-22 weekend, Kausche said she began exhibiting the same symptoms as her husband, though she said their cases have so far been mild.
“[Fabian’s] coughing has not been bad, but he has had a constant mild fever which goes up and down,” Kausch said. “But this is a very, very stubborn virus. It doesn’t want to go away. He is usually a very fit guy, and it is surprising because we are on day 10 now (as of March 24) of him being ill.”
Kausche said she has had a mild fever and cough, but the symptoms come and go in waves.
“You read all the stories about how it develops, and every time it goes in a direction where it could get worse, it makes you very nervous,” she said. “This morning he had a fever over 100 and felt really terrible…but this afternoon he is feeling better. It comes and goes in waves, and you hear about people who have bad cases right away and those like us where it feels like the flu, but it is not the flu.”
Because Kausche was quarantined at home with Fabian, her husband’s doctor said she likely had coronavirus, but the decision was made not to officially test her while the state grapples with limited testing kits to administer.
“I think it was the right decision,” she said. “The problem is, we do not have enough tests, and me asking for a test would be wrong right now.”
But her case draws to the importance of controlling the virus.
“What I want to make clear is there a lot of people who are just affiliated cases,” Kausche said. “They are reporting over 1,000 cases today, but that number is much, much greater.”
With firsthand experience of the novel coronavirus, Kausche said the state needs to take strong measures to curb its spread.
“For me, it is a simple question of science, and do you believe in the science or not,” she said. “Science models have shown a clear path to where we go if there is no shelter-in-place order right now. We cannot risk overburdening the healthcare system. That would be, in my mind, reckless.”
On March 23, Gov. Brian Kemp ordered those most vulnerable to the virus to shelter in place. Over a dozen governors across the nation have enacted shelter-in-place orders for all residents in their states.
While she deals with her own case, Kausche said the state should take more drastic measures like issuing a statewide shelter-in-place order. She believes Kemp could be holding out until there is more pushback from citizens, or possibly waiting for a national order.
“I think [a shelter-in-place order] is the right thing to do,” Kausche said. “I hope he does it soon. When we are at a point where our healthcare system is overburdened, you can’t then say, ‘Well, we should have.’ It is an unpopular decision for sure, but in the long run it will protect us more and hurt us less.
“I think it is a question of science and not politics. On the one hand, we tell everybody we need to really push for STEM education, and when push comes to shove, we forget the ‘S’ is for science.”
Meanwhile, Kausche and her husband will stay at home for at least the next few weeks. She said they are lucky to have a daughter nearby who can drop off supplies and groceries in their garage. Her daughter joked that she visits her parents ever day but never sees them, Kausche said.
As she recovers, Kausche has remained in good spirits.
“Some constituents have asked me if there are any [coronavirus] cases in Johns Creek, and I tell them there is at least one, and maybe an unofficial one,” she laughed.