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Politics / Issues
WUSF News is committed to covering the upcoming presidential election with a focus on the issues – and not the political horse race. WUSF is pairing with WMFE in Orlando to cover the 2020 presidential election with a specific focus on the I-4 Corridor. We will focus on the issues and topics that matter most to voters in this crucial region, who could sway the election.

A Florida Legislator On His Family’s COVID-19 Diagnosis, Face Masks, And Pitfalls Of Rapid Testing

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Florida House of Representatives
State Representative Randy Fine and his family have tested positive for coronavirus.

State Rep. Randy Fine has coronavirus. The Brevard County Republican tested positive for coronavirus along with his wife, Wendy, and sons Jacob and David.

The news comes just weeks after another state representative and Broward County Democrat Shevrin Jones and his parents tested positive for the virus,.

90.7 WMFE spoke with Fine about his family’s COVID-19 diagnosis and how they’re faring.

Read excerpts from their interview below.

Danielle: How and when did you find out that you had the coronavirus?

Rep. Fine: Well, I found out that I was positive yesterday afternoon around 5 o’clock, as were my two sons. This followed my wife being found positive on Monday. So we were exposed last week. I can give you the details, but she caught it first. And obviously the other three of us caught it from her.

Danielle: Give me some of those details. Tell me about how you think your family got sick.

Rep. Fine: Sure, it’s valuable to know because most people don’t know anyone still who has it. So I’m happy to share our story. So we had somebody over at our house a week ago Sunday who was perfectly fine and healthy.

But on Friday, that person tested positive, so six days later we immediately went into quarantine cause that’s what you’re supposed to do. And went and got tested. My wife learned that two other people that she had been exposed to had also come back positive.

So we got tested Friday, her test came back Monday positive; myself and the two boys came back negative. But I was convinced I was starting to feel bad. And I said, I bet she caught it. And I’m just a few days behind. So we got tested a second time on Tuesday, and then those tests came back positive Wednesday.

Danielle: How’s your family doing right now?

Rep. Fine: Well, we all feel sick. Interestingly, our symptoms are completely different. Everyone feels sick in different ways. My wife has lost her sense of taste, for example, which I kind of wish I had, it would probably be good from a dieting perspective, but I have a cough that’s my most serious symptom. My youngest feels like he has the flu.

So everyone’s sick but in different ways. But none of us are sick right now at a level where we’d be worried. We’re worried because we have the stress of, ‘oh, my gosh, we have coronavirus" and then, "oh, my gosh, you know, what if it gets worse?" But if the way we feel now is the way we would feel the whole time until we got better. You know, it would be a non-event.

Danielle: What would you tell people now as someone who’s actually contracted the virus?

Rep. Fine: Well, there’s a couple things.

One is take it seriously. We wear masks when we’re out. All of the exposures that we had happened in small, private, non-public settings; they were not, you know, out and about. And so, you know, you can get it even if you’re taking precautions, like we did.

That’s the first thing: Take it seriously.

I think the second thing is be cautious on the testing. So I also got quick-tested, and those quick tests came back negative because the quick tests aren’t as sensitive as the full PCR test.

And the third thing I would say is if you get tested too early you can also come back negative. I only came back positive on my second PCR test. You need a certain amount of time for the virus to build up to a point where a test will pick it up. So don’t rush out, get a test, come back negative and assume that you don’t have it. You still could.