West Virginia family opens up about battling COVID-19 without even knowing it

(Photo: WSAZ)
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - After being sick for nearly two weeks, Nate Davenport decided to go to the hospital to try to find some relief.

"At that point, they did test him for strep and he did test positive and then he had an ear infection," said Suzanna Davenport, Nate's wife.

"We just thought for a couple of weeks that, that was the issue and he just needed to kind of get over that. But as things progressed, he kind of just got worse and worse."

After going to the hospital on April 17, Nate was admitted for exactly one week and doctors recommended getting tested for COVID-19.

"He had two trips to the emergency room (total) and they did a COVID screen and he was negative both times," Suzanna said. "But after that second trip, the ER, they went ahead and admitted him because some of his levels were off."

Nate said aside from having an ear infection and strep throat, he also was battling a come-and-go fever of 103 degrees.

But he said the hardest battle of all was being away from his wife and 20-month-old son.

"I think to some degree I didn't really know how bad it was," Davenport said. "I was really just worried about my family and how they were feeling through the situation."

Nate's wife, Suzanna, said she received a call one morning from doctors to let her know Nate had to be moved to the intensive care unit (ICU).

"His heart rate was dropping, his blood pressure was low, oxygen levels were decreased and he was in congestive heart failure (so) at that point we were just really scared."

Nate said the doctors told him he had a 50-50 chance of surviving.

"Ultimately our mind goes to what if I don’t get better, what if I don’t make it out of this? How is that going to affect my family? So that was really hard, too," Nate said.

He said even though he tested negative, doctors decided to treat his biggest symptoms as if he had COVID-19. Luckily, Nate never needed to be put on a ventilator and started to get better as days went on.

He was eventually taken out of ICU and able to be released from the hospital back home to his family, but still had no answers as to what his body was fighting off for several weeks.

Almost a month later, Nate got tested through antibody testing and found out that he did have the virus.

"Things just kind of slowly started to get better, but all of his organs were inflamed," said Suzanna. "But now we know it was possibly just the inflammatory response from the virus itself but at the time they were just treating symptoms."

"Testing positive afterward was nice to kind of give me closure but at the same time, you see how real the situation was, and scary, and how it could’ve gone in another direction," Nate told WSAZ.

Nate said the news of the illness being COVID came as a shock simply because, he is a 30-year-old, former college athlete with no underlining health conditions.

"It’s really wild the things they don’t know about this virus and how scary somebody who looks like there’s no chance that they’re going to either get this or not be able to fight it can end up fighting for their life a week later."

He also said that the outpouring of support and prayers from the community was something that helped him along the way.

"My gosh, there were hundreds of thousands of people praying for our family, professional athletes, recording artists that I look up to, people reaching out with personal videos. Those are things that definitely made a difference and something that I will forever be grateful for and never be able to repay."

"We’re not promised tomorrow, so we’re just thankful for each day. And although this was a scary time and we thought 'oh that will never be us,' it can be you and it’s a real reality check," Suzanna said.

Through antibody testing, Nate's wife and son also found out that they had the virus, but are all doing well now.