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How easy is it to get COVID-19? A Fort Bend hospital CEO explains how he thinks he got it

Joe Freudenberger says he got it from his son.

HOUSTON — A Houston-area hospital administrator says he too came down with coronavirus. Joe Freudenberger, 59, is CEO at OakBend Medical Center and says he got the virus from his son, who didn’t even know he had it. 

“We had our traditional Sunday dinner that we have every Sunday with my family and he didn’t think he was COVID positive,” said Freudenberger. “Then a few days later he realized he might be when one of his colleagues wasn’t coming into work.” 

His son had been going to work and wearing a mask, but Freudenberger says his son did go out to eat with a colleague. He says his son sat indoors and took his mask off to eat. 

At Freudenberger’s Sunday night dinner, 4 out of the 6 people at the dinner table ended up testing positive. 

“The next thing you know, I got it, my wife got it and his fianceé got it,” he said. “I went through a range of symptoms from low-grade fever to body aches, to a cough to a deeper cough, to shortness of breath.” 

Freudenberger says he also lost his sense of taste and became lethargic during his two-week fight with the virus. He’s thankful everyone in his family was able to recover at home. 

“I know from being a hospital administrator that we’ve had people who are otherwise healthy get very ill with this thing,” he said. 

Freudenberger has now tested negative and has returned to work. He hopes by sharing his story, others will be reminded how contagious the virus is. 

“I’ve learned this is a disease you don’t want to mess with, that even if you are healthy, the fear of what it might do to you, is more than you might imagine.” 

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