"Hi there, my name is _____ and I'm calling from the New York State Contact Tracing Program. I'm sorry to inform you that you have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19."

For me, this news didn't come as a shock as I knew I had learned earlier I was exposed, but to others it might.

The afternoon of December 8th, I decided it was necessary for me to get my first test done. We had some friends who tested positive, and had developed some symptoms around the same time they did.

I get it. It's that time of year. People get cold symptoms left and right. But, 2020 has brought a new level of concern to consider.

Kaylin, TSM

I have been in quarantine now for a week, and I still have several more days to go before I'm allowed to leave my home. I have no symptoms currently and am feeling great. But, all of this information surrounding the pandemic is confusing and frustrating.

A great way to understand how coronavirus is spread and passed, and the timeline of it all is by observing this graphic. I've passed it along to all of my friends and family because I honestly believe it's the best way to understand it better.

Coronavirus has up to a 14 day incubation period. Incubation, in this case, means the time that you were exposed to the time you develop symptoms. Researchers estimate that people who get infected with the coronavirus can spread it to others 2 to 3 days before symptoms start and are most contagious 1 to 2 days before they feel sick.

Credit: NYUHS

I know plenty of people who have been exposed, went, got tested, got negative results and went about their lives because they thought a negative test was the end of it. But unfortunately, it's not and those people aren't doing what they're supposed to be doing.

This virus isn't political. I've seen too many arguments back and forth about it being that. But here's my take: as someone who has family members who could DIE if they got infected, I wish more people would take it seriously.

I get it. You have to go on and live your life. But I think it's important that you recognize that this virus can be passed on without knowledge. Someone can pick up the virus, and transmit it without even knowing. They don't develop symptoms, they have absolutely no idea.

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I'm not asking you to put your life on hold. I'm asking you be SAFE, and FOLLOW the rules that are in place. They exist for a reason: to protect you, to protect me, my family, your family, your friends, your neighbors.

Please, take this virus seriously. I think we're in a worse place in the Utica-Rome area now than we were back in March. And I really think that's something everyone needs to take into account.

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