Carl Goldman’s coronavirus quarantine began on Feb. 4 aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan. After nearly two weeks in his cabin on the ship, a feverish flight back to the U.S., and another month quarantined at a Nebraska medical center where he tested positive for the virus for 27 days, Carl is finally back home in Santa Clarita, California. That is, Carl is now sheltering at home for the foreseeable future along with 40 million other Californians.
“It feels wonderful to be back in Santa Clarita,” Carl said, then added, “I came back to California and here we are now quarantined in our state totally. So I'm the longest person in quarantine with corona, having been in quarantine now since February 4.”
Through the ordeal, he has not lost his sense of humor.
Carl, who owns the local radio station KHTS in Santa Clarita with his wife Jeri, has been blogging about his coronavirus experience since the couple was quarantined aboard the Diamond Princess. The trip through Southeast Asia was a Christmas present from Carl to his wife.
When we first told you Carl’s story, he was 34 days into his quarantine and doing well at Nebraska Medicine in Omaha, but still testing positive for the COVID-19 virus.
He told us about his flight back to the U.S. spent in isolation with a 103-degree fever, celebrating his 67th birthday in biocontainment lockdown, and logging his 10,000 steps a day from the confines of a tiny hospital room.
Aside from the fever, which Carl said had broken by the time he got to Omaha on Feb. 17, his only symptoms were some shortness of breath early on and a lingering dry cough. For several weeks, he says, he’s felt pretty healthy. Yet Carl’s body was slow to shed the virus — something he says may be related to Guillain-Barré syndrome, an autoimmune disorder that gives him numbness in his hands and feet. But his doctors really aren’t sure.
Carl’s flight home to California left Nebraska on Monday, March 16.
So how does it feel to be back home after all this time?
“As much as I loved Omaha and would love to go back in a different time and different era and see everybody that were my angels there and actually get to see Omaha,” Carl said, “I was thrilled to be home.”
A good friend picked him up from Van Nuys Airport with a giant tub of peanut butter and chocolate ice cream from Cold Stone Creamery, Carl’s favorite.
“I dug into that and didn't realize how much I'd missed stuff until I started re-experiencing things like that,” Carl said. “Then, of course, getting home, being able to hug my wife, pet my dogs, have them lick me, and just be back in my home after being away for two full months was just a delight. And being able to go outside.”
Jeri was also quarantined in Nebraska, but never tested positive for the virus and was discharged two weeks before her husband.
Carl had already made the decision to self-isolate at home for 14 days upon returning to Santa Clarita. While he says public support for what he has been through has been overwhelmingly warm, concerns from a small portion of the community prompted him to be extra cautious about his re-entry. With the entire state of California under stay-at-home orders, Carl’s time in quarantine of some form or other could extend even longer.
Still, he manages to look on the bright side — a perspective he says he’s maintained living through other disasters like earthquakes, floods and wildfires.
While he may be sheltering at home, Carl says he now has a lot more room to log his 10,000 steps. “I no longer have only 14 steps until I hit the wall.”
He offers this advice to those facing quarantine for the first time:
“Get into a routine. Get up, shower, dress like you're going to work. Designate x amount of hours where you are going to work, whatever that looks like. If you're not working, then same thing, set up some stuff for the kids.”
“And as a guy who owns a radio station, I shouldn't be saying this, but my belief is that right now, with social media going crazy and the 24/7 all corona all the time, take time off from the media, you know, do 30 minute shots two or three times a day and call that the end.”
All the stress, he thinks, is bad for the immune system.