Twin Cities doctor recovering from virus pleads with public to stay home

This HealthPartners doctor recounts being floored by COVID-19 and the guilt she felt passing it along to family.

A HealthPartners doctor is recovering from COVID-19 and pleading with people to stay home this week.

“Within like two or three days from the onset of symptoms, boom, I was on my back,” said Dr. Yeng Yang, of HealthPartners’s St. Paul Clinic.

She went through first-hand what many people have gone through after testing positive.

“This virus, really, I think humbled me in that it really showed me just how quickly you can go from being quite functional, healthy person to somebody who looks like they’re in their 80s with chronic lung disease,” she said.

Within days, she said the virus spread like wildfire through her extended family. While she did recover, she’s had to send many of her patients to the hospital.

“I will tell you that every week for the last month, I have hospitalized a patient for COVID,” Yang said. “And every one of those patients has spent anywhere between five days to three weeks in the hospital and it is debilitating.”

As of Tuesday, HealthPartners reported 609 of its 682 beds are occupied, about 89 percent. 88 of its 99 ICU beds are also occupied, about 89 percent.

On an encouraging note, Minnesota’s Health Commissioner says the state’s test positivity rate is starting to drop.

“The 7-day test positivity is a bit of a bright spot,” said Jan Malcolm. “That 7-day test positivity rate is 14.3 percent now, down from 15.2 percent the week prior.”

Within the healthcare community, there is still concern about exploding cases during the holidays, especially as the virus can rapidly spread from family member to family member.

“I will be creating a care package for my daughter for her to pick up, but far away from us, because I think it’s very dangerous for people to get together. Yet, we miss our families, but this is the one year where we have to be distant to be kind, I think,” Yang said.

Dr. Yang said once she got the virus, it quickly spread to her husband who is also a doctor. Her mother was also infected.

Now, she is living with a lot of guilt about possibly spreading it to her mother.