Fairborn’s fire chief shares his experience battling the coronavirus

Fairborn’s fire chief shares his experience battling the coronavirus

FAIRBORN — Three weeks. That’s how long Fairborn Fire Chief David Reichert said it took him and his wife to recover from COVID-19 and to be symptom-free long enough to go back to work.

Reichert talked about his experience to a statewide audience in a Q&A with Ohio Governor Mike DeWine during the governor’s COVID-19 briefing. News Center 7 carried the news conference live on Channel 7 and on our WHIO Facebook page.

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Wednesday, Chief Reichert talked one-on-one with News Center 7′s John Bedell about his experience with the virus.

When asked how he was feeling at the moment, Reichert said, “Ah, feeling good. Feeling really good today.” Wednesday was Reichert’s third day back at work in the first week he’s been at a firehouse in a month.

Reichert hasn’t always been feeling great since mid-July, though. He’s 48, fit and healthy, but the chief told Bedell COVID-19 “really leveled me out pretty good.”

He said he felt “extremely weak,” during points of his illness. “We actually ended up with darn near everything on that was on the (symptom) list,” Reichert said. “For us I think it really started out with a little bit of a dry cough, headache, to low-grade fever, sore throat. And then from there, it actually progressed into respiratory congestion to the digestive – to the GI issues. And I remember when my wife felt like she was losing her sense of taste and sense of smell.”

He said his wife got sick first in mid-July, then Reichert started feeling lousy not long after. But each of them only had a couple symptoms and weren’t totally sure whether it was COVID yet, so they got tested. Both nasal swab tests came back positive for COVID-19.

Reichert said neither he nor his wife have any idea where they got the virus. He said the couple is careful on the job and at home to protect against the spread of COVID-19. But, the chief added, they both have jobs that carry the potential for a lot of exposure. He’s a firefighter, she’s a healthcare worker.

“For us, it took about three weeks for us to finally get rid of the symptoms,” Reichert said. “We were fairly ill.”

Neither of the Reicherts needed to go to the hospital. They fought off the virus in isolation at home.

Now that Chief Reichert is on the mend and back on the job in Fairborn, News Center 7 asked him why he’s chosen to share his story? He said it’s all about trying to help others.

“Well for me, it was anything that I can do to possibly help,” Reichert said. “If this helps anybody in the process if somebody is maybe going through it and having some symptoms right now, not really quite sure what to do, you know, get tested. We’re here to help. And if there’s any type of message that we can get out that can help somebody as we’re going through this pandemic, that was the point.”

Chief Reichert said he and his wife are both planning on donating their plasma as soon as they’re able to help other people battling COVID-19.