Avera doctor shares her personal experience having COVID-19


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – The current coronavirus pandemic has brought many surprises for doctors around the world. For one in Sioux Falls, it was when she contracted the virus herself.

Dr. Leah Prestbo is a Physician at the Avera McGreevy Clinic in Sioux Falls. She has 10 years of experience connecting with her patients.

“I’m a family doctor. I see everybody from babies all the way to grandparents through the entire life process,” Prestbo said.

When the coronavirus pandemic hit, she and her colleagues found alternative ways to keep those connections strong.

“I have a lot of patients who I’ll see over video, or in person, in certain cases in the respiratory clinic,” Prestbo said.

After talking with them, she noticed a common feeling they share.

“They’re just scared, you know? They don’t know what to expect and, quite frankly, there are only so many things that any of us know about this virus right now,” Prestbo said.

A feeling she knew too well when she contracted COVID-19 back in April. It was when the surge first occurred and she contracted it unknowingly from a co-worker who tested positive.

“As soon as she started developing any symptoms; she went home, but just in that small amount of time that we happen to be together and probably while we were working together before she developed symptoms, that was enough,” Prestbo said.

Prestbo’s symptoms showed up in about two weeks. She says they included a headache, congestion and a cough.

“As soon as I had started developing that cough, I went into our upstairs guest room, which has a bathroom attached, luckily, and I kept myself in there,” Prestbo said.

While in quarantine at home, her test came back positive and she remained isolated.

“There were certainly a few times, from a daily basis, where I wondered, I’d go to sleep wondering, ‘Huh. I wonder if it’s going to be a lot worse tomorrow? Or, if I’ll require more care,” Prestbo said.

After two weeks, and seeing significant improvements to her health, she soon returned back to the clinic.

“I was very lucky and my symptoms were basically resolved by the time I was able to exit quarantine,” Prestbo said.

She now takes even more precaution when dealing with patients.

“I felt pretty comfortable coming back. Of course, I basically didn’t take my mask off at any point during those first few days I was back just out of an abundance of caution,” Prestbo said.

Now she’s carrying experience that she hopes can help ease her patients toward recovery.

“Every day is an adventure. Let me put it that way. This is a scary and exciting time to be in medicine, and I’m just glad that I’m here to help my patients navigate through that,” Prestbo said.

To get the latest numbers and updates on the Coronavirus, you can visit our Coronavirus Pandemic Page.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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