Twin Cities radio host Ben Holsen battling COVID-19 symptoms

Holsen co-hosts the morning show with Dana Wessel on Go 96.3 FM.
Ben Holsen

Ben Holsen of Go 96.3 FM in the Twin Cities is quarantined at his home with COVID-19 symptoms. 

Holsen tells Bring Me The News that he began feeling ill Saturday and his symptoms rapidly worsened to the point that he went to an emergency room Sunday night.

He could not get tested for the disease that is responsible for the deaths of at least 29 Minnesotans and more than 9,500 Americans, so he is now quarantined at home away from his wife and 2-month-old daughter. 

"I'm only three days into the symptoms but it's pretty crazy," Holsen said in a text Monday morning. "Like a Mack truck parked on my chest. Currently soaked in sweat just laying here. Shallow breathing. Felt like a leper going into the ER but those people are amazing and they don't have any tools to combat this." 

Holsen, of the Ben and Dana morning show, with co-host Dana Wessel, said he woke up Saturday morning feeling fine before the symptoms hit him hard. 

"Like an extreme energy suck. Dull aches and pains came a bit later so I just laid around the house. Sunday morning I was uncomfortable with the aches and added chills and a fever of 100.7," he said. "Chest tightness like I've never felt. Shallow breathing just laying here. Out of breath to go to the bathroom. Hunched over and weak."

Holsen decided to go to the emergency room after his wife, who is a physical therapist, became concerned about his oxygen level. 

The emergency room process

"When I got to the ER, they stopped me inside the double sliding doors," Holsen explained, "put a mask on me and started asking questions about who I may have come in contact with and about my symptoms while taking my blood pressure. 

"The nurses were in full protective clothing and they took me back to room 3. Not a soul waiting in the waiting room. No mingling. No guests unless absolutely necessary so my wife, who insisted on driving me, drove around until I was released."

Once inside his room, Holsen spoke with his healthcare provider through a monitor, as shown in the photo below. "That's how they communicated with me," he said. "They tried not to come into the room other than to take a chest X-ray, give me an EKG and take my blood." 

Holsen's view from his bed, showing the monitor and, as Dana Wessel describes, his "dad shoes." 

Holsen's view from his bed, showing the monitor and, as Dana Wessel describes, his "dad shoes." 

Because there is no treatment for COVID-19, Holsen is left to fight the illness without assistance other than a recommendation from his provider to use Tylenol to help keep his fever down. He's also left to wonder how he contracted the disease, if it is in fact what he has. 

"I've been racking my brain about where I may have come into contact with whatever this is because I've been hyper anal about social distancing, washing my hands, disinfecting everything, not touching my face and so on. The only things I can think of was when I went to the post office to overnight a mask for my wife's grandparents who were flying home from wintering in Arizona or the one time I went to the grocery store," he said. 

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Worst of all, Holsen suddenly finds himself unable to help care for his wife and infant daughter. He'll need to stay quarantined for at least seven days or until he's been fever-free (without fever-reducing medication) for 72 hours, whichever comes first, per CDC guidelines. 

"That's the worst part of this. The isolation. Our baby just turned 2 months old and she's changing every single day. That I can't be there to help my wife with feedings, changes or just to soothe and hang," he said. "No reading her books before bed. And, now my wife has to take care of me, our daughter and the dog. 

"Feel so guilty but there's nothing I can do. The hospital said we can't even use the same bathroom. I need to wear a mask in the house if we're communicating. Any surface I touch should be wiped down." 

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