Jefferson County official recalls “frightening” experience with COVID-19

WWNY Jefferson County official recalls “frightening” experience with COVID-19

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Contracting COVID-19 has been a frightening experience for one Jefferson County official, and it’s been one he can’t completely remember.

Until about a day ago, Tim Ruetten, Director of Jefferson County Community Services had been in isolation for three weeks.

Ruetten said it all started at the first sign of symptoms.

“My headache was pretty severe. I had a really bad back ache. My legs were starting to hurt, started to get a little fever," Ruetten said.

At its peak, Ruetten said COVID-19 caused him to feel horrible in both his body and mind.

“I don’t remember some of it," Ruetten said. “My fever fluctuated constantly. All over body aches really bad. Like, I’ve never experienced body aches. It’s so much worse than the flu. Or, it was for me anyways.”

For Ruetten, getting better required two visits to Samaritan Medical Center.

One was for three days after his oxygen levels dropped. He said he didn’t know how hard the fight would be.

“We were worried about what the outcome was going to be with this, it was that frightening. And, if there’s any way to avoid that, just avoid it," Ruetten said.

Even though Ruetten said he’s not showing COVID-19 systems anymore, he did develop pneumonia during the three weeks he was in isolation. He said he’s still recovering.

“I get tired very quickly,” Ruetten said. “I get winded after just a few steps. Talking can be difficult at times.”

Ruetten says his family also had to quarantine, but they never got sick. He credits their adherence to his isolation for that.

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