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'No one really prepares for this' | Houston COVID-19 patient initially thought he had the flu

The patient is one of a number of people who suspect they contracted coronavirus at a festival in Miami

HOUSTON, Texas — A number of positive COVID-19 cases are tied to a massive festival in Miami, that includes a Houston man who returned home before falling severely ill.

“It’s kind of hard to breathe,” the patient said from his Galleria-area apartment balcony.

It’s been two weeks since Tim, 35, got back from a fun-filled trip to Miami. We are not publishing his last name to protect his identity.

"Just walking from one room to the next, I get winded,” said Tim.

His balcony now offers the only fresh air as he tries to overcome coronavirus.

"The first thing I noticed that was really, really bad was the fever," said Tim.  "I had a really bad fever and, I mean, I sweated all day every day.”

RELATED: Here's how Houston-area residents can get tested for coronavirus

Tim suspects he contracted COVID-19 at a huge LGBT festival held just before health experts recommended cancelling large gatherings and before the first positive case in Miami-Dade County.

“I was one of those people who thought, ''You know, what are the chances of me getting it,' you know?” said Tim.

Organizers of the festival, called Winter Party, said in a statement that they made the most informed decision at the time regarding the event and took extensive precautions.

“We continue to encourage all WPF guests to monitor their health, practice social distancing, wash hands with soap, use hand sanitizer and contact their doctor if they think they are exhibiting symptoms,” the statement added.

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"It took me about a week and half to two weeks to just, you know, deal with the fever and the pain,” said Tim.

Tim, who tested positive after his doctor ruled out the flu and pneumonia, is able to work from home during his quarantine.

But feels for those whose livelihoods and health may be at continued risk.

"No one really prepares for this," said Tim. "It’s so unexpected, we’re all just trying to get through it.”

Tim said everyone should heed the advice of health experts and try to stay home.

Meanwhile, he’s told he has to test negative twice before his quarantine is lifted.

Coronavirus symptoms

The symptoms of coronavirus can be similar to the flu or a bad cold. Symptoms include a fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Most healthy people will have mild symptoms. A study of more than 72,000 patients by the Centers for Disease Control in China showed 80 percent of the cases there were mild.

But infections can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death, according to the World Health Organization. Older people with underlying health conditions are most at risk.

The CDC believes symptoms may appear anywhere from two to 14 days after being exposed.

Human coronaviruses are usually spread through...

  • The air by coughing or sneezing
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands.

Help stop the spread of coronavirus

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Eat and sleep separately from your family members
  • Use different utensils and dishes
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with your arm, not your hand.
  • If you use a tissue, throw it in the trash.

Lower your risk

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • If you are 60 or over and have an underlying health condition such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or respiratory illnesses like asthma or COPD, the World Health Organization advises you to try to avoid crowds or places where you might interact with people who are sick.

Get complete coverage of the coronavirus by texting 'FACTS' to 713-526-1111.