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'This is the sickest I've ever been in my life' | Arkansas woman begins to recover from coronavirus

Maggie Benson says the virus is "not a little head cold."

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — A local woman is calling the COVID-19 virus one of the worst things she's ever experienced.

Maggie Benson is one of the five positive cases in Washington County and she's explaining her first-hand account on what she's experienced after contacting the coronavirus.

One week ago Maggie says she started feeling the symptoms that come with the virus. The next day she got tested at Washington Regional Medical Center and received her positive test results a day later. 

While Maggie continues to self-quarantine she wants others to understand how important it is to social distance and stay home during this time. She says it can save lives.

"This is the sickest I've ever been in my life," Maggie said.

Maggie and her husband Matt live in Fayetteville. A few weeks ago they said they went to a social event in Little Rock where a couple who had been exposed to coronavirus was also in attendance. Shortly after that interaction, Maggie developed symptoms.

“I was having chills. I felt feverish and hot, cold, hot cold. I also had all over body and a headache I couldn’t shake,” Maggie said.

Maggie says she called the Arkansas Health Department, her doctor and the screening hotline for guidance. The ADH advised Maggie to get tested, so she did and her results came back positive.

“I was in an isolation room. The folks who came in to treat me were in PPE. Everyone who came in the room was,” Maggie said.

Maggie is 33 years old, exercises regularly and eats healthy. She says the notion that if you’re young and healthy, you won’t be affected is inaccurate.

“It’s a serious deal," she said. "I don’t say that to sound alarmist. I say that it to emphasize that it’s not a little head cold. At least it didn’t manifest that way for me.”

For the last week or so Maggie says it was difficult for her to get out of bed and resting and drinking fluids have been her new norm.

“I’ve been getting a whole lot of rest," she said. "I’ve been taking it very easy. I didn’t really have much of a choice. I had such a lack of energy. What I would describe as total exhaustion."

The main message Maggie hopes her story brings.

“If you can stay home, stay home.”

As for Maggie's husband Matt, he has also been self-quarantining alongside his wife. Doctors tell them he almost certainly has the virus but is asymptomatic. 

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