Middle Tenn. mayor details battle with COVID-19: ‘things could’ve gone either way’

Local Coronavirus Coverage

Linda Hayes [left] (Courtesy: Submitted)

DICKSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — A month after the mayor of White Bluff became the first known case of coronavirus in Dickson County, she says she has recovered.

Linda Hayes traveled to Spain on February 27 for a ten-day trip to visit her grandson and some extended family.

While among the large crowds, Hayes explained, “we didn’t even hear anything about the corona. We were hearing more about the tornadoes that happened here in Nashville.”

Hayes eventually returned home to White Bluff, a city of a few thousand people in Dickson County, about ten miles northeast of Dickson. Upon her return, the 73-year-old mayor described feeling overly tired, but said she brushed it off as jet lag.

“I just took the next two days and I took it easy. I unpacked clothes, went and got groceries and just did what I needed to do here at home. And I was just tired,” she explained.

After more-or-less returning to full strength, Hayes said she became sick again about a week after arriving back in Tennessee.

“It started with a cough,” Hayes explained. “I had a dry cough. It was like a tickle in my throat.”

She then developed a fever and night sweats and said it dawned on her that she had been out of the country and could have been exposed to COVID-19.

Hayes went to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in the hopes of getting tested and said a nurse informed her, “we’re 80-percent sure that you have corona.”

The mayor was ordered not to return to her home in White Bluff, for fear of spreading the virus to her husband, who has an underlying health condition. Hayes said she chose to quarantine at her daughter’s house, where she remained for two weeks.

“When I was sick, I didn’t have time to be scared. I didn’t think to be scared.” Hayes explained. “I was just really, really sick.”

Based on her age and other factors, Hayes said she feels fortunate to have recovered from the virus, as so many others have not.

“I don’t know why things happen like they do, but looking back now, things could have gone either way,” she explained.

She added, “I just want to say take this serious. There’s so many things that it’s changed in our life, but the health and welfare of our people is first and foremost. Please take it serious. It is here.”

Hayes said none of her other family members, including the ones she was with in Spain, have tested positive for COVID-19.

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