A Cannon County native, elected official, husband and father of three, with a prominent history in public office, conquered a terrifying diagnosis of the deadly COVID-19.
Randy Gannon, 62, has held the titles of Woodbury vice mayor, and served eight years as chair of the Cannon County School Board.
His most important title is now being a survivor of coronavirus, which has ravaged the country with 374,329 confirmed cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
“My advice for others is to please stay at home and be very cautious from now on,” says Gannon. “The governor’s executive orders are to stay at home, sanitize and take care of each other by distancing ourselves from one another. People need to be aware of this. They need to take it seriously because it can kill you.”
Gannon was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Monday, March 23, when he went to an urgent care clinic in Woodbury. Prior to his diagnosis, he had visited a Cannon County doctor on March 16 for flu-like symptoms which he began experiencing the previous day.
“I had a lot of flu-like symptoms, such as a fever and body aches, but there was no chest congestion or coughing,” says Gannon. “I wasn’t tested for the flu as it was presumed to be the reason of illness so I began treating it like the flu with a steroid shot and a prescription of antibiotics.”
As Gannon’s illness continued, he went to the urgent care clinic and was tested for the flu. However, his test results came back negative. Chest X-rays were then taken and Gannon was found to have a small amount of clutter in his lungs. At that point, the COVID-19 test was administered.
On Wednesday, March 25, the results came back as being positive for coronavirus.
“The clinic called me and I was told I tested positive for COVID-19,” said Gannon. “I was advised to self-quarantine, which I did and would have done anyway.”
The symptoms lasted from Thursday to Sunday with Gannon’s temperature reaching over 103 degrees during his time in quarantine. His fever broke Sunday, March 28.
The only remaining symptom he has now is weakness from the virus and previous fever.
“This needs to be taken very, very seriously, and whatever guidelines have been set, please follow them,” says Gannon. “That’s why they’re there, and the only way to get a hold of this stuff is to break the cycle.”
Gannon’s wife, Julie, and his youngest daughter, Katie, live with him. Gannon states through all of this, Julie and Katie have had no symptoms, but he has stayed away from them, even while being in the same house.
“I’ve quarantined myself to the bedroom,” says Gannon. “My wife would come to give me things for fever such as aspirin and over-the-counter medication. When I went to the bathroom, I would wipe everything down. I ran the whole gauntlet to keep them safe. I wanted the virus to stop with me.”
He says their house will be heavily cleaned once he and his family members are out of the woods.
“All of my family members were champs,” says Gannon. “They pitched in and tried to figure out what the solution would be and the best course of action to take, which was exactly what they did, as well as making sure to keep their distance.”
Hope for Gannon and his family was finally found once his fever broke.
“I now have no fever and have felt great since it passed,” says Gannon. “I’m at the point now to where health officials think it’s safe for me to get out and move around, but I’m not. I take this seriously.”
Gannon has never smoked cigarettes, but does have diabetes. He states his diabetes did flare up and he was put on insulin in January.
“I’ve racked my brain trying to figure out where and how I got it, but after looking at research, I don’t think it matters,” says Gannon. “I think with this, you have people who are carriers, and you have people who are going to get it from the carriers. Many people don’t even know they are carriers.”
Gannon states there’s always a fear he could’ve transferred it to people at work, although he took vacation days off after first feeling ill.
“One or two people got tested, but I haven’t heard that they were positive,” says Gannon. “From my understanding, I can go back to work on April 10, but I don’t know if I need documentation to return. However, they will get back to me with those details.”
Gannon thanks the Cannon County community for being wonderful and very supportive.
“We’ve had people wanting to bring stuff, such as food, and leave it. The community has been great,” says Gannon. “Everyone has been very positive, which my family and I are very grateful for.”