Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard told Current in Carmel on Wednesday that he recently fought Covid-19 and won, saying he has no idea where he might have been infected.
“I’ve been working remotely since this (virus spread) started (in the spring), continued to work while ill, and I almost always wear a mask whenever I leave my home; maybe two or three times I haven’t, but none recently,” Brainard said.
The mayor, now in his seventh term, said he started feeling poorly on Nov. 4, had worsening symptoms on Nov. 5 and then was tested at a drive-thru site at Carmel United Methodist Church at East 126th Street and South Range Line Road.
He received his positive result the next day, consulted with his personal physician and took “only aspirin and lots of water,” he said. “I didn’t have severe symptoms. In my case, it was headache, muscle aches, nasal congestion, fatigue and a dry cough. It was kind of like a bad cold. I did lose a bit of my sense of smell, but that is returning.”
Brainard, 66, said his physician wanted him to stay on top of his blood-oxygen readings.
“I was told to get an oximeter so I could track my blood-oxygen levels. Fortunately, they never (dropped),” Brainard said. “A healthy blood-oxygen level is between 95 and 100, and they say if it gets to 91 or lower you should immediately go to an emergency room.”
Brainard said he remained alone in his home for 20 consecutive days.
“But I worked every day. I’ve been working at home since April,” he said. “I was very careful. I wore a mask almost all the time in public and still will. I was not around very many people,” he said. “I’m fully recovered, but with the holiday season here we’re all going to have to be extremely careful. I’ve learned that a carrier is most contagious prior to having any symptoms.”
Brainard said he has submitted to city testing sporadically since Aria Diagnostics became the city’s testing contractor earlier this year.
“I was told the danger period is five to nine days after onset,” he said. “I was told people get better or a lot worse in that time. The scary part is psychological. You just don’t know which way it’s going to turn.
“I was fortunate. I feel great, really. My energy is back. I’ve been on normal schedule all week, and that feels good.”
Brainard reiterated the need for caution “until we have a vaccine. Once that is administered at approximately 50 million doses a month nationally, (the virus) should stop quickly. We’re going for 70 percent herd immunity. We’re talking about 270 million Americans 18 (years old) and older. “
He said the City of Carmel has offered the Hamilton County Health Dept. Carmel facilities, transportation and personnel to move the vaccine quickly to wherever it needs to go once it becomes available.
“The (county) health department will become a logistics agency, and then the plan will be to leverage the private sector (pharmacies and the like) to get people inoculated as quickly as possible,” Brainard said. “We know how to do these things in the U.S. and get it under control, but this interim period is critical in avoiding suffering and death among our family and friends … and people we may never know.”