Edina couple recovering from COVID-19 supports statewide mask mandate

An Edina, Minnesota couple is recovering from COVID-19 after they said they took every precaution against the virus.

Steven Rothberg said he became symptomatic about a week and a half ago. Since then, he and his wife have been isolating at home. Both were confirmed to have COVID-19, which at times left them with fevers, dry coughs and sometimes feeling as though they are in what Steven describes as a foggy haze.

“It’s almost like if you’ve had one too many drinks without the pleasantness. You’re aware you are not thinking properly, where you know you are sluggish.”

The Rothbergs, a healthy couple in their mid-50s, insist they’ve been super careful during the pandemic, masking up and going into grocery stores only when needed. They also researched the safest take-out locations before zapping their food in the microwave out of an abundance of caution.

Still, they got sick.

Fortunately, their cases have not required hospitalization, but they wanted to share their story to educate others as Governor Walz considers mandating masks in public, as some Minnesota communities have already done. As of Monday, Minnesota has 42,772 cases of COVID-19 and 1,504 deaths attributed to the virus.

Given how cautious the Rothbergs were before falling ill, and recognizing how serious the virus is given their own health scares, the couple absolutely supports a statewide mask mandate.

“If we can realize how close to home this is for so many of us, more of us will take it more seriously,” Steven said.

Monday, Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm addressed the mask debate.

“The governor’s been really interested in understanding the added value a statewide mandate would bring. He’s been really clear the goal is for everybody in Minnesota to adopt this as a best practice and a habit that we understand the value of,” she said.

Health officials explained there is no timeline for the introduction of a statewide policy, only that the governor has asked for data and research from areas where mandates produced measurable impacts. The dialogue on implementation is ongoing.

“Because this is all so new to all of us, so much is opinion-based still because we just don’t know a lot about the virus,” Steven said. “We don’t know a lot about how it impacts people.”

In the meantime, the Rothbergs are following their doctor’s advice to stay away from people for 10 days since the onset of symptoms.