With a newborn in her arms, Molly Grantham was finally home from the hospital, happy to see her two other children showering their new brother with love. But little did they know that those hugs and kisses would lead to the entire family fighting a potentially deadly virus.
Grantham, an anchor for WBTV in Charlotte, said her family had been extremely careful. She had tested negative for COVID-19 before leaving the hospital. Same with her in-laws who came to watch the other children.
But somehow, somewhere, her 9-year-old daughter, Parker, contracted COVID-19.
“We were home with the newborn, and Hobie, it’s his name, he was 4 days old or 3 days old at the time and my daughter started experiencing allergy-like symptoms. We didn’t think much of it,” Grantham told CNN’s Kate Bolduan. “Turns out it was (COVID-19) and so by that point we were all here kissing on the baby and we all got it.”
The symptoms were different for everyone, Grantham wrote in a Facebook post.
After experiencing allergy-like symptoms, Parker broke out in a fever and was nauseous. Five-year-old Hutch had a cold and runny nose. Husband Wes lost his sense of taste and smell and felt lethargic.
Grantham said she felt fatigued and had bodyaches, which she thought were aftereffects of having just given birth. But later, when she went to get a COVID-19 test — which came back positive — a chest X-ray showed she also had pneumonia. Antibiotics she was given for the pneumonia caused her to break out in hives all over her face. The new medicine caused her to throw up.
And she had to deal with all of this while caring for days-old Hobie and monitoring him for any symptoms.
“it was scary. Some nights, watching a newborn breathe, watching his rib cage rise and fall,” Grantham told Bolduan. “I was like, what am I looking for? Is that breath different from that breath?”
Hobie’s rapid test came back negative, but the hospital said he should be assumed positive. So at 10 days old, Hobie was officially the youngest person to be tested and the youngest presumptively positive COVID-19 case in Mecklenburg County, according to Grantham.
The house, understandably, was absolute chaos.
“Hobie was crying and Hutch and Parker were fighting. Family members wanted updates. Dishes needed (to be) washed. What were we doing for dinner? Laundry was spilling into the hallways. Everyone else needed me and I wanted to stop picking up the phone,” Grantham said.
The two weeks of her “quarantine-illness-filled-world” was “surreal,” Grantham said. But now, with her family being all OK, she said she hopes their story will bring more awareness to the fact that children can get COVID-19.
“My message is that kids can get it and that it is a public health issue,” Grantham told Bolduan. “It is some ways being politicized all over the place, but it is a public health issue at the core of it.”
“You can have an opinion on how it should be handled, but the fact is it’s impacting everybody and it is very real,” she said.