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'I went viral for being viral,' Hudson woman says one year after COVID-19 diagnosis

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Posted at 5:04 PM, Mar 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-04 19:14:40-05

HUDSON, Ohio — Amy Driscoll never expected it, but she became the face of the coronavirus in Northeast Ohio one year ago.

After testing revealed she was one of the first confirmed cases in the area, the mother from Hudson posted on Facebook, describing her difficult symptoms which included fever, trouble catching her breath, and tightness in her chest.

"Please take this seriously," she wrote. "People you love, their lives may depend on it."

The post was shared more than 30,000 times.

"It was weird because I went viral for being viral which was a strange sensation," Driscoll said.

News 5 first spoke to Driscoll remotely in March of 2020 while she was under quarantine with her son in their home.

"I am a person with it and it really, really made me sick," she said at the time.

Health officials told her she likely contracted the virus at a Cavs game on March 7. Days later, Driscoll felt like her chest was "collapsing in on itself" and she was admitted to Ahuja Medical Center.

"I was the first person that Ahuja had seen. I was the first person that any of my doctors had seen with an actual positive diagnosis."

Driscoll, 49, revealed that some of her symptoms lasted for four months-- until mid-July-- and even today she's not completely herself.

"Going up and down stairs or doing any kind of really strenuous activity, I just have to stop and take a breath and try again," she said.

Over the past year, Driscoll has watched the coronavirus numbers rise. There have been nearly one million cases in Ohio since the pandemic started.

Two of Driscoll's high school friends are among the people who have died from the virus.

"They're just never gonna be back, right? Just gone."

Driscoll is anxiously watching any news about COVID-19 variants and the continued vaccine rollout. She's not eligible for a shot yet but plans to stand in line as soon as she can.

While the vaccine gives her hope, Driscoll worries that too many people will let their guard down, gather too much in large groups, and stop wearing masks in public places.

"I'm still scared for all the people in my circle and my friends-- that anyone would get this and really suffer," she said. "We've lost over 500,000 people to this. It's a tragedy."

Just like she did in March 2020, Driscoll is sending a message in March 2021 to anyone who will listen.

"Moving forward, we're just gonna keep doing everything we can to keep as many people as we can safe."