Lindsey Owens, 35, of Imperial has tested negative for the COVID-19 coronavirus.
Owens, who has children enrolled at two Fox C-6 schools, said she previously tested “presumptive positive” for the virus, so she had informed the school district that she thought she had the virus.
She said she notified the district because she wanted to warn those who recently came into contact with her or her two sons since the first test showed a presumptive positive result.
Owens said she got the first test for the virus on March 19 at the Mercy drive-up testing site at 15740 S. Outer Forty Road in Chesterfield.
She said on Saturday (March 21), a Mercy representative called and informed her she had a “presumptive positive” test, but she was instructed to get a second test, which she did that day.
Today (March 23), she sent the Leader a text message saying she had just received the result from the second test and it was negative. She said she posted the same message on her Facebook page.
“Mercy (Hospital) called me today and shared my results on my second test. Those results are negative for COVID-19,” the text said.
“A nurse I spoke with told me that my first test was filed under inconclusive,” Owens said. “The sample was not strong enough to confirm a positive. The negative result is what is going to be shown to the state.
“They did not give me a negative on my first test. I had been symptomatic. When I was called (on Saturday), I was told I was presumed positive and to assume positive, and I took the second test.”
Owens had posted a video on Facebook on Saturday describing her illness and letting people know she received a presumptive positive test result for the virus. She has since made her Facebook post private.
“I was getting death threats against me and my children,” said Owens, who has a son who attends Seckman Middle School and another son who attends Hodge Elementary School, both in Imperial and both part of the Fox School District.
She said she also has a daughter who attends Bayless Elementary School in St. Louis County.
Owens said she informed the Fox C-6 School District and Bayless School District about her presumptive positive test and told the districts her children had not been tested.
She said her oldest son had previously been sick but had recovered. She said her youngest son currently is sick and was diagnosed with bronchial pneumonia.
“After being enrolled into the COVID-19 monitoring system for my symptoms, I felt I took the necessary precautions by alerting my school district,” Owens said. “I want the community to know that early detection is key, and I felt like it was very important to share my story while it was ongoing. I have been truthful and forthcoming with my experience, and I do not regret notifying my school district or my friends and family.”
Owens said she is currently being treated for gastrointestinal issues and dehydration.
Fox warns parents about possible case
The Fox C-6 School District emailed a letter to parents Saturday informing them that a parent with children at two schools in the district reported she tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus.
Superintendent Nisha Patel would not name the parent, but Owens said she is the parent Patel referred to in the email.
“At this point, we have not heard from the Jefferson County Health Department (about a positive result),” Patel said in the email. “This was a self-reported situation. The parent said she was told she was presumed positive.”
As of 10 a.m. today, the Health Department reported in a Facebook post that the county had not received notice about any positive test in the county.
The Health Department said there were 10 tests pending, and it had received 14 negative results.
JP Prezzavento, Fox’s communication and instructional technology coordinator, said no Fox students have tested positive for the virus.
Patel said in her email that the Hodge student had not been at school since March 6, and the Seckman Middle student did not attend school from March 9-16. However, the Seckman Middle student did attend classes on March 17.
Fox, like other districts in the county, closed all of its schools on March 18 because of the coronavirus pandemic. Fox officials anticipate reopening schools on April 13 after spring break, which runs from April 6 through April 10.
Owens said her oldest son was the first to get sick but had not run a fever or shown other signs of illness for 48 hours before he attended school on March 17.
“That one decision is the reason why when I got my presumed positive, I reached out to the school,” Owens said.
She said it was a struggle to get tested because she had not recently traveled out of state. However, she said her significant other – the father of her daughter – is a truck driver who travels out of state, so that’s why she was allowed to be tested.
“With him going to Colorado and other states around us, they figured that was good enough to test me, based on my symptoms,” she said.
Owens said she began feeling ill in early March.
She also said she has been dealing with an autoimmune deficiency since the start of the year,
Owens said today she was still feeling very ill.
“I woke up at 1 a.m. (today) with a severe headache and nausea,” Owens said. “My stomach was convulsing so bad I couldn’t breathe. I went into a panic. When I got my phone, I couldn’t dial 911. I was slapping at my phone. I ended up calling the last number that called me, and thankfully, it was Mercy’s nurses’ line that had prescribed my medicine. She was able to get medical help to me.”
Owens said she has been in contact with Mercy doctors, nurse practitioners and nurses through a messaging system set up by the hospital, and that local EMS personnel have treated her and her youngest son at their home.
“Mercy and my local EMS team have been so helpful, transparent and informative,” Owens said. “The SMS messaging system has been the biggest tool I have used. They have a doctor, nurse practitioner and a nurse making sure we are OK.”
In Patel’s email to district parents, she advised anyone who has “flu-like symptoms to contact the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services coronavirus hotline at 1-877-435-8411.
“We would like to remind our students, staff, and families that the coronavirus is thought to be spread via person-to-person contact through contaminated air droplets from coughing and sneezing by an infected person. We urge all families to follow guidelines in place by the CDC and local health authorities regarding social distancing and proper hand-washing during this time,” Patel said.
Prezzavento said during the extended school closure all schools are being thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.
“The Fox district will continue to follow guidelines from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and local health officials as we work to contain the spread of COVID-19,” he said.