Eye on KELOLAND: COVID-19 in young people


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – For months, we’ve been hearing about the toll COVID-19 can have on the older population. But that doesn’t mean young people are immune to the virus.

Kate Dossett from Sioux Falls is just 39 years old with no severe underlying conditions. In late October, she began having COVID-19 symptoms.

“They started out with just really, you know, severe headache, body aches and I wouldn’t even say like a high fever, it was probably around the 100 mark, you know, nothing alarming or anything like that,” Dossett said.

After staying home for five days, she decided to finally get tested. That was on a Monday. Her positive test results came back Tuesday and then things took a turn.

“Up until Tuesday, I hadn’t experienced any shortness of breath or anything like that. It was just the, you know, severe body aches. Then about 3 o’clock on Tuesday afternoon I started noticing that my fever was going up, I started experiencing, kind of like the shortness of breath that they were talking about and just got progressively worse throughout the day. Then by about 11, 11:30 at night I needed to call an ambulance. I could not breathe and it just went downhill very quickly,” Dossett said.

She spent eight days in the hospital.

“I was very fortunate that I did not end up in the ICU, but I absolutely can see how, you know, this virus can take you from feeling fine and then three hours later you need an ambulance. I mean, it’s crazy,” Dossett said.

Just because Dossett is out of the hospital now, does not mean she’s free of any symptoms. She loses her breath very easily and has to be on oxygen at all times.

“It’s frustrating because I am only 39 and I was hoping to be able to leave the hospital without oxygen and the reality is just that I can’t. You know, if I take it off, for any amount of time, I really notice that, you know, I can’t breathe. It’s frustrating to be, you know, 39 and, you know, still sick so I can’t imagine the affects on, you know, the older population or someone that is truly, you know, immunocompromised,” Dossett said.

People even younger than Dossett can have severe COVID-19 symptoms. Like 13-year-old Jadyn Ramazani of Brandon.

“Back in August, me and my family, we had gotten sick with COVID and I went back to school at the beginning of September and for about two weeks I was fine. But then after that, I went really downhill and by the time October came, I wasn’t able to really like, go throughout my days normal,” Ramazani said.

Her symptoms included exhaustion, headaches, swollen lymph nodes and a fever. She says she had days where she’d sleep for some 20 hours.

“I’m still dealing with a lot of exhaustion and headaches, but I’m getting a little bit better now,” Ramazani said.

Her mom, Kerry Alhassan, never expected Jadyn would be the one impacted the most by COVID-19.

“I have a little boy that’s high risk, very high-risk, he’s got three life-long diseases and I, for the whole two weeks, kind of, you know, you’re knowing you in the safe zone and out of the safe zone, I was a wreck and I couldn’t sleep worried about him. Never dreamed it’d get her like it did. He came out okay, but,” Alhassan said.

Ramazani went from participating in pageants and playing volleyball and basketball to missing a month worth’s of school. She’s been going back for limited hours at a time now that she’s not contagious.

“But after this, I can’t do sports or anything for the rest of, like, for awhile,” Ramazani said.

Dossett and Alhassan have a similar message for everyone right now: COVID-19 can take it’s toll on anyone, no matter the age.

“I mean, I will admit, in the beginning, I was a little bit probably more lax about wearing my mask than I maybe should have been. But, I mean, the virus is real and the effects are more than just a bad cold. I mean, clearly, I’m 39 years-old and I’m on oxygen,” Dossett said.

“You know, we’ve kind of been told that you don’t have to worry about your kids, they’re not getting it bad. But you just never know who it’s going to get and who’s going to get bad and who’s not. So, I think everybody needs to take it serious and do what they can to slow the spread, stop the spread. Take precautions, social distance, wear your mask, whatever you can to help everybody else, not just yourself,” Alhassan said.

As coronavirus cases continue to rise in the state, we want to hear from those impacted by the virus. Whether you are currently fighting it, have recovered, or you’ve lost a loved one to COVID — help us take a look beyond the numbers by emailing us at ushare@keloland.com.

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