Dr. Troy Pennington

Dr. Troy Pennington

As an emergency room physician at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton, Dr. Troy Pennington has witnessed the awful repercussions of the coronavirus crisis.

But last month, the COVID-19 outbreak became a deeply personal issue for Pennington, because Loren, his 31-year-old wife -- who he described as being "the picture of health" -- became infected with the virus.

Pennington, speaking during San Bernardino County's weekly press conference on Facebook on June 26, said his wife suffered greatly for more than two weeks before recovering.

The doctor described his wife's ordeal for the purpose of emphasizing that people of any age can come down with the coronavirus and that all residents need to adhere to the state's guidelines of wearing face coverings, practicing social distancing, and washing hands frequently and thoroughly.

"Please mask, distance, and wash," he said. "This pandemic is not over. Be smart, be safe, and be good to each other."

He pointed with dismay to statistics on the county's COVID-19 web dashboard which showed that the number of coronavirus cases has risen sharply in recent weeks.

He said that before she started to feel sick on May 11, Loren had no medical problems. In fact, she ate healthy foods and was running 5-7 miles a day. But by the next day, she was coughing constantly and had developed a fever.

"It was a really frightening thing to realize," he said, "that now my wife is suddenly a statistic on that dashboard that I'm looking at every day."

After initially being treated at ARMC, Loren went home and was quarantined, but the virus continued to plague her.

"She felt like she was being suffocated," Pennington said. "She had horrible body aches, shortness of breath, and severe coughing fits."

Finally, on May 28, her symptoms went away and her fever broke, Pennington said.

Corwin Porter, the county's interim director of public health, said at the news conference that he was disturbed to see that the number of young people being infected with COVID-19 was going up rapidly.

The 18-49 age group is "where the greatest increases are occurring," he said.

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