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Baltimore County Health Officer recovers from COVID

Dr. Gregory Branch shares details of illness
Posted at 3:40 PM, Oct 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-01 17:12:36-04

TOWSON, Md. — The date was March 12th.

The coronavirus outbreak had just been classified as a pandemic, and Dr. Gregory Branch had to report what was inevitable---the Baltimore County’s first confirmed case of COVID-19.

“While we have confirmed the first Baltimore County case, it most certainly will not be the last,” Branch said at the time.

The county would see 18,000 more people contract the virus in the months that followed, including Branch who went for a precautionary test after he began coughing and losing his voice.

“You kind of feel the aches and pains, but it was like I had the flu. It was nothing more than that, and then I started getting better,” said Branch.

But that hardly covers the emotional roller coaster he went through.

Branch had self-quarantined for four days and said he didn’t really think he had the virus since he’d never lost his sense of taste or smell, but thoughts about his own mortality followed when he obtained the results of the test.

“On Monday, when the test came back positive, those feelings came up,” recalled Branch. “You know, I’m overall a healthy dude, but I do have some things that are chronic conditions and things like that, and I was like, ‘Oh, my goodness. This could be a problem.’”

As a health expert, Branch also knew the worst may lie ahead of him.

“Sometimes when you know a little bit more, you can kind of freak yourself out a little bit more,” Branch told us. “So I knew that from Day 6 through 9 that some people take a turn for the worse. So for me, Day 6 through 9, 10 were the days that I felt that nervousness, like ‘What could happen? Do I need to go to the hospital?’”

Back on the job now and fully recovered, branch is sharing his experience to underscore the need for people to remain vigilant and to continue taking steps to protect themselves like hand washing, face masks and social distancing.

“I have to let your viewers know that COVID is here. COVID is deadly, and COVID has not changed. We’ve done nothing, and I’m going to put that nothing in quotes. Since COVID was here, we’ve actually been at the mercy of COVID. Right? There is no vaccine yet.”

Shifting the focus back from his own health to that of all of the residents of Baltimore County, Branch says with Halloween coming up, parents should choose not to go door-to-door trick-or-treating, because it would only help spread the virus.