Clark County 19-year-old recovering from COVID highlights growing trend of infected young people

Clark County 19-year-old recovering from COVID highlights growing trend of infected young people

CLARK COUNTY — Angel South is usually a very active and social 19-year-old – but since testing positive for COVID-19 earlier this week, she’s been anything but.

“My throat started hurting first. It felt really tight, and then I was coughing and losing my voice some. And then I couldn’t smell anything and then a day after that I couldn’t taste,” she told News Center 7′s Jenna Lawson. “There was one day I felt like I didn’t have any energy at all so I slept all day long.”

Thankfully, South has not had to go to the hospital and is recovering at her parent’s house in Clark County – but her case highlights the growing number of young people who are testing positive for the virus.

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“I did not think I was gonna get it,” she said. “I wouldn’t wear a mask and I was going out and hanging out with friends.”

Clark County Health Commissioner Charles Patterson said there has been a recent uptick of people under 29 years old testing positive for the virus in the county, and even more so when looking at the 39 and under age group.

He said there are various reasons for the trend, including that young people make up a big part of the essential workforce and have more intense feelings of invincibility.

“They’re not as worried because they’re not the target demographic to have negative outcomes,” he continued on to say, “They could have negative results or could have long term issues with their lungs, a long time coming back to get to normal -- but it’s the folks that are immunocompromised and the older folks who could have very serious effects.”

Those under 29 account for 36% of the total COVID-19 cases in Clark County currently.

Patterson said there were virtually no cases of COVID-19 in that age group in the first month of the pandemic, but that quickly rose to 27% in the months that followed before growing even more to the current status.

News Center 7 also checked with the Champaign Health District, which said those under 25 account for 25% of the county’s total cases.

Health Commissioner Gabe Jones said in the last two months, that figure 29%, but jumped to 36% of the cases coming within the last two weeks.

South is hopeful that her life will return to normal sooner rather than later – but she said she definitely learned a tough lesson.

“If I knew what it felt like -- I would’ve worn a mask and sanitized and been more cautious about it,” she said.

She said health officials have not determined where she may have contracted the virus.