Fans are sending well wishes to General Hospital star Paulina Bugembe (Valerie Spencer), who announced on social media that she has coronavirus.
Her health journey started about two weeks ago, when "for about a week, I had a slight tightness in my chest but no other symptoms," she explains on Twitter. "I went to my doctor who tested me for the flu and it came out negative. We both attributed it to anxiety. I quarantined as much as I could."
However, on a trip out of the house to pick up essentials on March 23, the actress found that she'd locked herself out of her apartment and had to go to a nearby locksmith to be let in. "People that know me know I'm generally a fit person," she shares, "but when I tell you that two blocks of walking winded me... I couldn't catch my breath for the rest of the day. When that lack of being able to breathe continued into Wednesday, I called my doc and she told me to go to the ER."
Once admitted to the hospital, Bugembe reports that she was tested for everything but COVID-19. "All hospitals (unless you're rich, apparently) have to follow CDC regulations for testing for COVID and they do not deviate," she writes, adding that the tests for flu and pneumonia both came back negative and the doctor admitted that while they can't confirm she has coronavirus, she very likely did, so act accordingly. "They gave me a prescription for an albuterol inhaler, prescription Tylenol, and prescription-strength cough suppressant and sent me on my way."
Bugembe has been in isolation for a full seven days since and writes that she has seven more days to go before experts deem her no longer contagious and able to come out of self-isolation.
"Self-isolation Day 7/14: halfway there. I'm going nuts in this room," she shares. "Sometimes I crack the door open when I hear Snipes just outside the door to get a peek at him and close it before he tried to come in. The ER nurse called to check in on me yesterday and said that it sounded like I was improving based on my updates. I will take this damn bracelet off when I'm able to leave this room which is hopefully in seven days. That all depends on what this cough wants to do. #LifeWithCOVID."
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Self-isolation Day 7/14: halfway there. I'm going nuts in this room. Sometimes I crack the door open when I hear Snipes just outside the door to get a peek at him and close it before he tried to come in. The ER nurse called to check in on me yesterday and said that it sounded like I was improving based on my updates. I will take this damn bracelet off when I'm able to leave this room which is hopefully in seven days. That all depends on what this cough wants to do. #LifeWithCOVID
Chloe Lanier (Nelle Benson) also recently reported being ill, but was unable to get a test, sharing in an Instagram story, "I developed a mild cough that eventually turned into a runny nose and fever. Aches/chills then made their way into the picture. Called my doctor. Had a Skype aptt with them and they said because I didn't hit all the symptoms laid out by the CDC, they could not test me. Then last night came the chest pain and shortness of breath. I went to the ER today where they again refused to test me because I'm young and there are very few tests to go around. The doctor said I 'probably have' but because of my age and overall health otherwise, I should continue to self isolate."
Emma Samms (ex-Holly Sutton, GH; ex-Fallon Carrington Colby, Dynasty) also reports being sick with COVID-19, but like Bugembe and Lanier, she was unable to receive a test and therefore cannot say for certain if she has the virus -- even though doctors in her home country of England have said that they do believe she is positive.
"I want to thank the @NHSuk who looked after me SO wonderfully yesterday," she tweeted. "Symptoms meant I had to go to hosp, wasn't admitted, (thankfully) but therefore no test done. Doctors sure I'm #COVID19 positive but with no proof I can't volunteer to help #NHS when I'm better."
I want to thank the @NHSuk who looked after me SO wonderfully yesterday. Symptoms meant I had to go to hosp, wasn't admitted, (thankfully) but therefore no test done. Doctors sure I'm #COVID19 positive but with no proof I can't volunteer to help #NHS when I'm better. #tests- Emma Samms MBE (@EmmaSamms1) March 24, 2020
Daytime favorite Greg Rikaart (Kevin Fisher, The Young and the Restless; Leo Stark, Days of our Lives) revealed that he tested positive for the virus in March, calling it "the hardest experience" of his life.
The coronavirus has infected at least 200,000 people and killed over 4,000 in the U.S. alone. Millions of people have been ordered to stay at home to prevent further spread of the disease, which has forced all four daytime dramas to go on hiatus and the Daytime Emmy Awards to announce cancellation of this year's event. Soap Central has set up a special COVID-19 section to help you follow the impact the pandemic has had on our daytime family.
Would you like to leave Paulina Bugembe, Chloe Lanier, and Emma Samms get-well messages? How do you feel about the actresses' COVID-19 experiences? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.