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Has COVID-19 been a concern?

SubstituteMommy's picture

SD9 lives with us full-time. Her BM lives out of state and sees her a few weeks per year. SD just came back from her summer visit, which was extended due to her BM, grandmother, and half-brother contracting COVID-19. I have children of my own who I have kept very safe and healthy since all of this started. SD's BM is the type who parties constantly and lives for going out (it's no wonder she doesn't have physical custody of either of her children). She isn't careful. She doesn't know how to take care of herself or her kids (the grandmother does everything).

Since SD got back, I have been adamant about her quarantining because I will be LIVID if my kids get sick. She tested negative a few days ago, but her grandmother and half-brother tested positive and she was around them on Sunday before she came back. The CDC recommends that a person quarantines for two weeks from the day of their last contact with a positive person.

This whole situation has me stressed out. I'm a germaphobe and I've had a hard time with all of this COVID-19 stuff. My SO is very supportive of us taking every precaution possible. SD has to go back in October and I'm already stressed out about this happening again. I am dreading it. As much as I LOVE the rare breaks that I get, I'd rather her stay here where I know that she will not get sick, but there is no way that her BM would agree to that because she only skips visits when it's HER choice and when it's convenient for HER.

My SO brought up a good point. He said that there are a lot of families out there that share custody who have to worry about their step-kids bringing COVID-19 home to their bio-kids on a weekly (or regular) basis.

So, how many of you are out there? How do you deal and cope with it?


justmakingthebest's picture

I would have her tested a 2nd time and then move on. 

My mom has cancer so we have had a lot of talks with the doctors about all of this and how it can affect her. Quarantining a person who is asymptomatic for 2 weeks really doesn't do anything. If they have the virus it is in their system longer than that. So they can still get someone sick. Testing is the only way to know. Even though there are false negatives, you are better off testing than just quarantining her. Also someone who is asymptomatic is MUCH less likely to transmit the virus. You can still have her wear a mask and just take proper protocols in your home: Disinfecting areas with Lysol, washing hands, don't eat and drink after eachother, etc.

SubstituteMommy's picture

We live in one of the states that has the highest number of cases. They won't test unless it's absolutely necessary. I already called her doctor and she isn't considered high risk and she isn't showing symptoms, so she doesn't qualify for a test at this time.

tog redux's picture

I think people vary in their concern about COVID. There are people on here who thought all visitation should stop for the duration of the pandemic, and others who don't worry about it much.

I asked DH back in March if he would have still had SS20 visit if this happened when he was younger and he said no - but DH is immunocompromised and he feared BM would try to get him sick on purpose (she just might).  Now that my state is below 1% positive rate, and this has gone on for six months, my guess is that he would have started having him come over again by now.

We will all likely be dealing with this for the next year, so not visiting her mom probably isn't realistic. I'd have her tested again as JMTB said, and keep your distance for a couple of weeks.

SubstituteMommy's picture

Yes, definitely keeping our distance. You're right though, it's unrealistic to stop visits with her BM. I just wish that her BM was smarter about all of this.

Cover1W's picture

YSD is week on/week off. I know that they are careful at BM's - but they also live in a complex with a lot of other immediate families and people, much different than a single home, and in the city. They are doing more social things lately too. More than us. We have to remind YSD of this when she gets bent out of shape if DH and I go to the outdoor cafe near us (all outdoor seating, VERY spaced apart, masks required. Our only trips out otherwise are to the store once a week.  Or truly necessary errands which we space apart.

There's nothing we can do. There's exceptions for a CO in COVID guidelines. It sucks, but here we are.

SubstituteMommy's picture

You're handling it the same way that we are. SD came back with so many stories about going out and going to her BM's friend's houses around tons of other people. It feels so unfair that we are being cautious and they aren't. I guess life isn't fair though, right? Like you said, it sucks, but here we are.

strugglingSM's picture

COVID-19 has caused me a lot of anxiety. DH takes daily antibiotics to protect him from recurrent infections due to another health condition. He has been hospitalized twice this year for related issues (once for a severe reaction to a previous antibiotic he was taking and a second time for a severe infection, after which point he was put on permanent daily antibiotics). This health condition also causes him to develop blood clots. He was recently sent to the emergency room for a DVT, at which point he was put on blood thinners. Due to all of this, DH is at high risk for complications if he gets COVID-19. BM knows this, however, she believes that "kids can't get COVID-19", so SSs are out socializing. They are spending this entire week in an RV with their friends, one of whom came back from visiting an out-of-state COVID hotspot two days before they left on their RV trip. They are coming back on the same day that visitation starts. DH has said he will refuse visitation, but that has caused a drama fest in the past. 

From my perspective, it is difficult to manage COVID if you are in a high conflict situation and there is a difference of opinion on risk or different risk tolerance across the two households. I've had to try to push my own anxiety aside and just focus on what we can do to protect DH when SSs are with us. For example, whenever he is riding in the car with SSs, they now all wear masks. If inside, I've asked that he maintain a distance from them. 

strugglingSM's picture

I foresee a lot of that in our future...especially as we move into fall and have to be indoors all the time. BM believes that DH is "obligated" to take his time. 

tog redux's picture

Funny how she wanted to cut out some of his time, but now he's obligated to take it. Well, if she's considered the custodial parent, then he is NOT obligated to take his time.  So he can answer her once, then turn off his phone.

Gimlet's picture

She also gave time back after she won and got more CS.  Now all of a sudden that SS isn't "scared" to come for his visitation anymore.

I agree, DH isn't obligated and he's high risk, BM can deal with it.


strugglingSM's picture

Yes, it's a constant game. When I met him, she was constantly demanding he take more of her weekends. Then DH and I got married and had a stable home for SSs to stay in and she began limiting time.Then she spent a year crying that she needed to reduce his time, because it was so traumatic for SSs to see him...but as Gimlet pointed out, as soon as she got more CS, all of a sudden SSs were fine and wanted to go back to the original schedule (DH should have said, "too bad. We agreed" at that point, but he didn't). They went to counseling for 1.5 months and were cured of their trauma, apparently. Then when DH would tell one SS he didn't have to come to our home because he wanted to do something else, BM would angrily tell DH that he had no right to "change the schedule" without consulting with her first. 

DH has asked several times for more custody time and she has always angrily told him that it is not in the best interest of the children to spend more time with him. Then COVID hit and schools were closed and she demanded that we take the children in for weeks at a time, because it was "unfair" that she had to have them all the time. 

DH refused visitation for the first month and a half of shutdown and she threatened to take him to court because he was "obligated" to take his time. She also told him that he was being completely unreasonable for not wanting to expose himself. She after all, also had high risk relatives, like her elderly grandmother. Of course, SSs were not visiting her elderly grandmother, so that was a bit of a false equivalency. 

It's all a game and it's all about control...and it's all about BM telling DH that he doesn't care about his children and he's a terrible selfish person. Nothing to do with the children. 

SubstituteMommy's picture

You hit the nail on the head with that one! It absolutely is difficult to manage COVID-19 in high conflict situations. I'm sorry that you have so much anxiety over it. I'm trying to get my anxiety levels down and just breathe! I'm looking forward to all of this being over.

AshMar654's picture

We sent DS11 out of state to states that were on a list for suggested quarantine for 14 days upon his return. I know that he wore a mask when he was out in public. No one he was around has gotten sick and we had my baby shower with friends and family no masks. We were outside but everyone is good. I also had a bridal shower at my house for my best friend we were mostly outside and kept distance and everyone had on masks. I wore one mostly to make others feel comfortable but I honestly did not care and I am 7 months pregnant.

I still go to the store and go out and about. I have been exposed more than once for sure. A woman I worked with had it and was out for a few weeks, she is in another building but she was in close proximity with my husband. DH several months ago had a cough and shortness of breath at times right after she went out. Called the doctor he was not concerned DH was never tested. I am thinking he had it and there I am with no symptoms or nothing and perfectly healthy. DH is type 1 diabetic by the way so he is technically considered high risk.

My elderly grandmother was in the hospital and after she was discharged was notified one of her roommates had tested positive, she was exposed and nothing at all. My mom was exposed as well since she was seeing her in the hospital and nothing at all for her as well.

Are people getting sick yes, are people dying from the virus yes. I still think they do not know enough about all of it to really sit there and say who will get it and who will not. I wear a mask we do not go out to eat anywhere and we wash our hands more. Other than that we are trying to live our lives and letting our DS be a kid as well. He will be playing football soon.

tog redux's picture

The problem is the spread - if people don't follow guidelines, then it spreads, and more people die. They are learning more and more about it all the time, and what they do know is that if you are over 50 and have certain co-morbidities (like diabetes), then you are  more likely to die from it.  If only 1% of Americans die, that's 3.6 million people.

Assuming your grandmother didn't sit right with her roommate or get close to her, she would not get it. You have to have close contact with someone for at least 15 minutes. Same for your DH and the woman at work. Since you don't know if he had it or not, you can't count that as an exposure.

I don't hide out in my house either, but I'm in a state with a very low rate. And it got that way because everything is not open and people are mostly following the guidelines. In other places, people are congregating and going about their business because they think it's no big deal. That's why we in the US can't beat this thing.


AshMar654's picture

I agree there is more information out there every single day. My family and I do follow the guidelines. I kept DS home for the day care for the recommended 14 days before sending him. They have a summer program. I called them and told them and was honest with them.

Everyone at the baby shower knew that he had been out of state and what state he was at as well as my MIL coming as well. We did not hide anything at all. We can not control how other people think or how they feel about this whole situation everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Mine is simply I still do not think there is enough information out there to know exactly what is the right call or the wrong call.

tog redux's picture

Well, the scientists have studied pandemics for their lifetime - so I'd listen to them and what they advise.  FACTS are what matter, not opinions.  People following their opinions is why the US can't get out from under this.

Gimlet's picture

I wish I could like this more than once.

The virus is novel to humans, of course we're still finding out new things, but I am going with the experts and their updates.

SubstituteMommy's picture

Exactly! I feel like it's never going to end here. Too many people don't care, don't believe, and don't try to help the situation at all. It's frustrating.

sandye21's picture

Tog, We live in a Nevada town mostly comprised of people who thought COVID-19 was a hoax, who selfishly thought their right to refuse to wear a mask was of greater importance than someone's life.  This was the case up until recently when positive cases in our state began going through the roof and we saw people we know die.  I knew a local man who died a couple of weeks ago.  No mask for him!

We have family in Italy.  They were initially hit hard with the virus but they adhered to national mandates.  There was no politics attached to it.   Everyone participated in the safety of all.  Eventually, when it was safe, things opened up.  Now they are having a mini-second wave because of visitors from other countries, but they are pretty much back to 'normal'.

In my opinion, if SM is not taking the virus seriously and doing her own thing, placing risk on others, I'd keep SD home and safe,


SubstituteMommy's picture

I don't understand the refusal to wear masks. I feel like if I was one of those people who didn't believe in the virus, I'd still follow guidelines out of respect for those who are scared of it (and to follow the state mandate, of course).

I have a co-worker who tested positive for COVID-19 almost two months ago. She recovered and returned to work after her two week quarantine. Since then, she has had many issues that she never had before she contracted the virus. Her muscles are super weak and she has had to use a cane on several occasions. She's a thin, healthy woman in her late twenties. She swears that her muscle problems are because of COVID-19 because she never had any issues before she got sick. I've heard too many horror stories about some of the things that can happen after you get the virus, and that is the main thing that I am afraid of.

I wish that people in the U.S. would care enough to come together the way that they have in other countries. We have it the worst now and it's not at all surprising. Sigh.

SubstituteMommy's picture

I'm glad that you don't seem to be stressed out or bothered by it. It's great that you and your family haven't gotten sick, too. I wish that I wasn't so worried about it and scared of my loved ones and I getting it. I'm a paranoid person, in general. It's annoying.

futurobrillante99's picture

I live in Maryland and traveled to Texas about 10 days ago for 5 days. While IN Texas, I was not in contact with anyone but my daughter, and she had been isolating and not going to parties or other gatherings. The only possible exposure might have been on the flight, but no one sat next to me. I did have people in the seat in front of and behind me - we all wore masks the entire flight except eating and drinking. The governor of Maryland recommended testing within 72 hours of returning from a "hot spot" (Texas is one of them). I got my test on Friday, 48 hours after returning and it came back negative. My employer is satisifed with my negative test and is not requiring me to quarantine.

I am satisified that I'm not carrying the covid, but to put other minds at ease (my BF), I'm going for another test on Thursday.

I know kids CAN get it, but more often than not they are carriers and infect others. Doesn't hurt to be on the safe side, but I would ask SD9 to keep her hands clean and wear a mask before I would require her to sit in a room by herself for 14 days. That's kinda extreme.

SubstituteMommy's picture

Kids definitely can get it. Kids have also died from it. We have made quarantine as easy and fun and entertaining as possible, and she doesn't mind at all. She's actually had a great attitude about everything and she understands. She has a nice room full of things to keep her busy.

I'm sorry that you think that quarantining her for two weeks is extreme. She was in a car for over thirteen hours with two COVID-19 positive people on the day that we picked her up. She slept in the same bed as them for weeks prior to her getting back home. I'd rather be safe than sorry.

ndc's picture

I think you're doing the right thing.  I know that manyfolks point to things the CDC has said that were wrong and decide not to follow their guidance because of that, but I think they're doing what they can with a new virus and ever changing information, so if they say to quarantine after exposure, that's what I think should happen.

SubstituteMommy's picture

Thank you! My SO and I both feel like we are doing the right thing. We've done so much research and it seems that symptoms show up more often between five and eleven days after exposure. Two weeks will go by fast and I'd much rather take all of the precautions that we can.

nengooseus's picture

HCBM did not comply with the stay-at-home order when it was in effect.  BM dropped skids off with friends the whole time and has been lackadasical about mask wearing, etc., as well.  She even refused to have SS tested a few weeks ago after we called the local COVID hotline and described symptoms he was having, based on her description.

So far, DH has missed like 10 days of parenting time--and hasn't seen them in 6 weeks--because of her behavior.  My bio-DD is with us 100% after her dad ghosted her almost 3 years ago.  I'm terrified of getting it an having her in a bad position, and I have risk factors, so it's a thing.

Now it's time to decide how they will attend school in the fall.  Now BM is all concerned about Covid and wants them in on-line classes.  Neither one of them has an ounce of motivation and they both need to be away from her, so DH thinks that's a mistake, but BM is hell bent on it, so I suspect she'll select it, regardless of DH's preference.

SubstituteMommy's picture

You're so lucky that your DH has the option to miss parenting time! We are the full-time home, so we don't have that luxury, ever. I've dreamt about it though. LOL! Keep your DD safe. That's your priority.

As for school, the closest district to us that has actually opened for in-person learning just reported fifty-four positive cases in the first week. Gross.

ndc's picture

We're in that situation.  DH and BM have a 2/2/5/5 schedule and BM has been very clear that she is going to live her life as she pleases and no one is going to tell her what to do.  She has people over to her house (sometimes large groups), she goes to (and has hosted) parties, she and her husband have traveled, including by plane, and she does not wear a mask or otherwise take precautions.  Our state just started a mask mandate, but it's not being widely enforced in our area.  When I make the skids wear masks, they tell me that BM not only doesn't have them wear masks, she tells them she doesn't want them to wear masks!

Early on we had BM keep the skids for a couple weeks because we were worried about Covid and it became apparent she wasn't taking any precautions (initially she promised she would).  When our state's stay-at-home order was struck down and BM was no longer doing anything wrong from a legal perspective, we gave in and started doing our regular schedule again.  Now I've resigned myself to the risk.  We have them wash their hands frequently, I am a mad woman with the cleaning and sanitizing, and I limit their contact with our baby to the extent I can.  I feel better now that DD is months older than she was when all this first started, and her immune system is that much more developed.  Sometimes I resent DH for putting me into this position in the first place, but by and large I'm OK with it now - maybe because 5 months have passed and no one has gotten sick yet.  Of course, school starts in a few weeks, and the skids will be headed to the local germ factory.  We had a choice between on-line and full time in-person learning, and of course BM made the decision that they'd be going in person.  We'll see how that works out.

SubstituteMommy's picture

It sounds like you're doing everything that you can to keep your baby safe, and that's all you can do. I really hope that everyone remains healthy once your step-kids go back to school! The BM in your life sounds as careless and brainless as the one that we have to deal with.

I understand the feeling of resentment towards your DH. I feel that way every time there's a situation that I wouldn't have to deal with if he wasn't in my life. Unfortunately, that happens all too often, and it's a seriously icky feeling.