Publish date:

Former St. Paul Winter Carnival queen shares video about her COVID-19 experience

Not everyone with COVID-19 will experience the same symptoms.

A former Queen of the Snows at the St. Paul Winter Carnival was among the first people to test positive for COVID-19 in Minnesota. 

Jilla Nadimi, the 2018 Queen of the Snows, shared a video describing what it was like to get a test and what the waves of symptoms felt like in the weeks that have passed since she first began feeling ill. 

"I had a fever. I had extreme body pain. I was screaming in the night. I had joint pain and eye pain," said Nadimi, who had to enter HealthPartners Clinic on Wabasha Street in St. Paul through a back door where she was met by staff wearing hazmat suits. 

"I called the coronavirus hotline ... they recommended a place for me to go get tested," she said. "I got into the parking lot and they said 'call us and we'll direct you on how to enter the building.'

"They said drive to the back of the building, go to the dumpsters, enter in through that door. When I entered in through that door people were there wearing hazmat suits. They walked me through until I got into an appointment area and waited for the doctor."

She said the doctor was wearing a hazmat suit and a face shield, but after going through a "painful" swab of her nose and mouth the doctor returned to her room without a hazmat suit because "he was positive I did not have COVID-19." 

She self-quarantined despite her doctor's opinion, which she said she would've had to do anyway because she felt "so poorly." Three days later, the 29-year-old from St. Paul received word that she tested positive for COVID-19. 

She suspects that she got the virus during a recent visit to New York City. 

Her symptoms changed every few days. The first three days she had a headache, pain behind her eyes, fever, extreme fatigue and body pain. Days 3-6 she felt fine, leading her to believe that she had the flu. 

Days 7-11 is "where it gets really scary," Nadimi said, noting that she had a dry cough, shortness of breath, chest tightness, body pain, extreme fatigue and a lack of appetite because eating made it hard to breathe. 

"I was panting for air. I couldn't calm down," she said. "They consider I have a moderate level of COVID and that because of my breathing problems I had pneumonia, but not bad enough to come in and be on a ventilator or get oxygen."

"Luckily, I've been getting better," she said.  

"I hope in some way I can instill a sense of calm. This is scary, this is really serious. It's been really hard for me. But their are very doable things we can all do to protect ourselves and our community and to prevent the spread of Covid."

Nadimi is still active with the St. Paul Winter Carnival. This past January she was one of four hosts on the broadcast of the 2020 King Boreas Grand Day Parade

Next Up

Screen Shot 2021-10-24 at 10.11.36 AM

Search for Wisconsin woman whose vehicle was found near Hinckley

Ashley L. Miller, 33, was reported missing on Sep. 24 after her vehicle was found without her in it.

Dak Prescott

Report: Dak Prescott will be 'ready to go' for matchup with Vikings

The Dallas quarterback is expected to be available for next Sunday's showdown.

Eddie Rosario

Where Eddie Rosario's championship series heroics rank since 2000

The former Twin put together an all-timer to help the Braves reach the World Series.

plane, Piper PA-32

2 dead after plane crashes near residence in rural Wisconsin

The aircraft also struck the house during the crash.

Screen Shot 2021-10-23 at 9.38.43 PM

1 dead after van crashes and lands on Highway 100 in Brooklyn Center

Northbound Highway 100 was shut down following the crash Saturday night.

Jess Peterson

Woman killed in crash ID'd as 'bad ass biker chick' with 'giving spirit'

The 30-year-old died in a motorcycle crash on Oct. 19.

Karl-Anthony Towns

Timberwolves' defense fuels win over Pelicans

The Wolves' have bought in on the defensive end as part of a 2-0 start.

Minnesota Wild

Ryan Hartman's OT goal helps Wild stay undefeated

The Wild improved to 4-0 with a win over the Ducks.

Mar'Keise Irving / Gopher Football

Gophers pound Maryland to stay in Big Ten West race

Four different players scored a rushing touchdown in a 34-16 victory over Maryland.

Father Paul Kubista at St. Mary of Czestochowa

Controversy after Delano priest shares vaccine misinformation in church bulletin

Father Paul Kubista is pastor at St. Mary of Czestochowa Catholic Church.


Marny Xiong

Chairwoman of St. Paul school board in critical condition with COVID-19

Her father is also in intensive care with severe COVID-19 symptoms.

coronavirus, doctor, nurse, covid-19

U of M infectious disease expert slams 'idiotic' COVID-19 '6%' misinformation

The president shared a post falsely claiming the CDC said only 6% of the reported COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. were actually from the virus.

George Floyd protest

Health officials encourage protesters to get tested for COVID-19

There are 215 COVID-19 testing locations in Minnesota.

Screen Shot 2020-04-05 at 7.09.12 PM

Walz: 'We're really nervous' about COVID-19 rates in Minnesota

As Minnesota's COVID-19 cases surge, the governor said he's nervous about the predicted increase in cases as flu season nears.

Cesar Cruz

Father dies after getting COVID-19 while on trip to Guatemala

C├ęsar Cruz came down with a severe case of COVID-19 while visiting family.

Screen Shot 2020-12-06 at 8.26.00 AM

Small group protesting COVID measures enter Midway Target maskless

It follows protests against COVID-19 measures at the Capitol and Governor's mansion.

heart monitor, hospital

What health officials have learned about COVID-19 deaths in MN

As of Tuesday, medical records of 146 of 405 hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Minnesota have been evaluated.