WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (WFLA) – Danny Jones was the first in his family to test positive for coronavirus after returning from a trip to Israel in the middle of March.
“Please take this seriously,” Jones said. “I’m going to spend a very long time just thinking about how I could have stayed away from my family and not given it to them.”
Jones has also been diagnosed with pneumonia and has been running a fever for 24 days, but he felt well enough to speak with 8 On Your Side through Zoom Friday night to thank everyone who has prayed for his family and to emphasize the need to not underestimate the virus.
“I would say that just a couple days ago I couldn’t do this interview,” Jones said.
The symptoms started for the member of the Westwood Missionary Baptist Church in Winter Haven when he got home on March 18 from the Holy Land.
“Upset stomach, diarrhea, a low grade fever, which eventually spiked to 103 or a little bit more, the body aches and pains, extreme headaches mainly caused by the coughing,” Jones said listing his symptoms.
Jones said he doesn’t know exactly how he contracted COVID-19 during his flights through New York back to Florida, but he quickly learned the virus is highly contagious.
“My oldest daughter was never in the same room that I was in, but in the same household and I gave it to her somehow or another,” Jones said.
His wife of 21 years, Rachel, and their three daughters ages 10, 13 and 16 have all tested positive.
“My kids spend most of their days in bed really weak, just taking a few steps just completely tires us out,” Jones said.
Jones told 8 On Your Side he’s grateful for the care he received while hospitalized for five days with low oxygen levels.
“I could see fear on people’s faces as I went into the hospital but through all that the nurses and doctors would come into the isolation ward and treat me,” Jones said.
He recalled a conversation with a doctor who visited his hospital bed.
“She said I’m a believer first, a doctor second and I want to pray with you for your and your family,” Jones said.
The Jones’ family story has been shared on their church Facebook page and around the world.
“We’ve been getting thousands of messages every single day from countries all over the world people that are telling us that they’re praying for us,” Jones said.
Jones said his youngest daughter had to be hospitalized for dehydration, but the three of them are starting to feel a little better. He added his wife still has a fever, too.
“I’ve literally coughed until I passed out a couple times,” he added.
Through his family’s fight with coronavirus, Jones has relied on his faith.
“I just have a greater appreciation for what my lord did for me,” he said.
The family’s pastor has dropped off medications and members of their church have delivered hot meals and they plan to do that again on Easter Sunday.
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