GOLETA, Calif. - Jake Garner is quarantined at his home and doesn’t feel great. For more than a week now, he hasn’t felt any better.
Since January, the Goleta resident had been traveling throughout Europe.
Once travel restrictions began to develop as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, he decided it was time to go home.
On March 8, he flew from Paris to Los Angeles.
“LAX customs condensed a lot of people from all over the world without masks while using the same machines and touching the same handrails,” Garner said. “I most likely contracted the virus sometime during that period of travel.”
After arriving back in the United States, the former Santa Barbara High School grad went about his daily life as normal for about a week.
On March 15, he began to feel unmistakable symptoms.
“Shortness of breath and a dry cough,” Garner said. “I had shortness of breath, not when I was static, but when I was working trying to exercise and that’s what prompted me to get tested.”
After consulting with his regular doctor, he was able to get tested on Friday at Santa Barbara’s Cottage Hospital.
Less than 48 hours later, his results came back positive for COVID-19.
“I can’t say I was surprised by the positive result,” Garner said. “Obviously I had the travel history and red flag symptoms.”
He was then required to sign a contract through the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department, which legally required him to stay home until he was deemed to be recovered.
Since then, Garner has been quarantined at his house in Goleta.
“I’m not able to go to the supermarket or pharmacy,” Garner said. “I’m dependent on friends and family delivering food and medication to my door.”
As he continues to battle the dangerous virus, the 23-year-old hopes that young people listen to the advice of the government and medical professionals to practice social distancing.
“The scary fact of the matter is that many of us are young and asymptomatic,” Garner said. “Without proper precautions, we will spread this very dangerous virus.”
Based on Santa Barbara’s previous experience with numerous fires and the Montecito mudflow, he strongly believes that our community is equipped to handle a crisis of this magnitude.
With this in mind, there are a variety of opportunities for the community to help each other during this time of need.
This includes Instacart for elderly residents who need groceries delivered throughout the area.
It's also important to support local artists through Live Notes, as many of them pay their bills by bringing people together.
In the meantime, Garner will remain in quarantine at home while fighting off the virus.