TOWER/SOUDAN - Amy Heglin, of Soudan, is finding what many others across the country now know: Even a supposedly mild case of COVID-19 can lead to longer-lasting health problems.Heglin tested …
TOWER/SOUDAN - Amy Heglin, of Soudan, is finding what many others across the country now know: Even a supposedly mild case of COVID-19 can lead to longer-lasting health problems.
Heglin tested positive for the virus on May 23 and tested negative on June 9. She said the worst of her symptoms had disappeared by June 5, but she is still not back to normal.
“I am still having fatigue and heart palpitations,” she said.
The fatigue has meant that she needs to rest the day before working at her part-time job, and she usually feels tired the day after.
On a Facebook group for those who have “recovered” from the virus, Heglin said she is finding thousands of others dealing with similar and even more serious health complications.
“Everything is still so unknown,” she said. “I am still wearing a mask and still being crazy vigilant about it.”
Heglin wore a mask all spring, even before her diagnosis, because she was worried about infecting other family members. None of her coworkers at the two main places she works tested positive for the virus after her diagnosis, a sign that wearing a mask does make a difference.
“It is such a simple thing to do that might save a life,” she said.
Tower begins to mask up
“A lot more people are wearing masks now than they were last week,” said Jim “Chimpy” Tuominen, a manager at Zup’s Grocery in Tower.
A quick survey at the store on Monday morning netted not a single non-mask wearer.
Tuominen was really happy to see the shift, since he has asthma.
“I don’t want to get sick,” he said, “I know how hard it is when you can’t breathe.”
Tuominen said he was even seeing customers who had previously scoffed at the idea now wearing a mask inside the store.
“Yes, I know it is uncomfortable at times,” he said. “But I am so glad to see it.”
Tuominen himself was wearing a face mask covering his mouth and nose, along with a face shield to protect his eyes, and disposable gloves on both hands.
Zup’s is still offering carryout service on Wednesdays where customers phone in their order for pickup in the parking lot, as well as at-home delivery, with help from the Breitung Police. Demand for both services is still strong, Tuominen said.
Most Tower retailers had signs posted on their entrances, as required by the new state mandate, reminding customers that masks were required indoors.
Frandsen Bank, which had opened its lobby to customers not wearing masks, has again shifted to drive-through service only, and other visits by appointment.
The Embarrass-Vermillion Federal Credit Union has reopened its lobby to mask-wearing customers but reserves the right to ask customers to remove their masks to be identified. Anyone entering the lobby is asked to use hand sanitizer first and must read a health questionnaire to make sure they do not have any COVID-19 symptoms. Tellers said the vast majority of their customers are still opting to do their business via the drive-through, ATM, or online.
Sulu’s, which had been providing window-only service, is now offering ordering indoors, but customers must be wearing a mask, unless eating. The patio offers an outdoors option for their customers, but reduced seating is available indoors.
Jacqui Zupancich, the barista on Monday morning, said their customers are doing a good job of masking up.
“We are keeping each other safe,” she said.
Tower Mayor Orlyn Kringstad said while masking up when shopping is relatively easy, he is worried about possible exposure at area bars, where customers can be unmasked while drinking.
Bars present another issue altogether. Servers at bars need to be able to safely ID customers, comparing their face to their ID. D’Erick’s Tower Liquors, on Monday, had a customer attempt to purchase alcohol in the off-sale shop, and then the customer refused to lower his mask to allow the bartender, Kim Anderson, to check his ID, as is the shop’s policy.
The customer then challenged Anderson, who was not wearing a mask, saying that she was breaking the new law.
Anderson refused to sell alcohol, and the customer left the shop and called the police to report noncompliance with the new mask mandate.
Anderson noted she cannot wear a mask at all times because of an underlying health condition, though she tries to wear one as much as possible. In the off-sale shop, she is working behind a plexiglass shield, so she had her mask hanging.
The new mask mandate specifically gives an exemption to those with underlying conditions that prevent safe mask wearing. It also does not give people the authority to question others.
Instead of listing their daily specials, Good Ol’ Days has a sign outdoors with the rules that need to be followed.
“We are operating at 50-percent capacity,” it reads. “If there is not a chair already at a table or the bar, we are full.” The sign reminds customers that there is no standing or congregating allowed at the bar. “We hear you,” the sign reads. “We don’t like it either.”
On Monday, right before lunchtime, customers were doing a good job of complying. Two tables of Boy Scouts, most either wearing masks or with masks around their necks, were waiting for their food. Bar seats and tables were spaced out to limit capacity.