Sanford cheerleader battling COVID-19 has had symptoms for more than 50 days

SANFORD, N.C. (WTVD) -- Sanford native Lacey Mathis has been living a COVID-19 nightmare. For nearly two months, she has battled the virus and still can't shake it.

"It's been 58 days since I first had my fever," Mathis said.

Like most Americans, Lacey didn't see it coming.



Cheering for William and Mary at the CAA tournament in early March, coronavirus wasn't on her radar. Somewhere in that DC arena, she contracted COVID-19 as did one of the referees.

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"Where the cheerleaders have to sit is very tight quarters. They're close to the fans, close to the players, close to the refs so it really could have been anywhere or anybody."

Mild symptoms began, which the 19-year-old freshman attributed to cheering and travel fatigue.

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A week later she tested positive in Chapel Hill.

Lacey seemed to have every symptom including a sustained high fever.

"I had like mental fogginess, I lost all sense of taste and smell. That one really was not fun. And I was sleeping a lot," said Mathis.

Things only got worse. A month into quarantine she was diagnosed with a sinus infection. More recently a kidney infection took hold.

50 days after her first test, Lacey tested positive for COVID-19 again.

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"Overwhelming and frustrating to say the very least. It can get very depressing, you know. Being sick all the time, only wanting to sleep. You can't really sit up, you can't really walk around. Like, there's nothing to do," Mathis said.

The disease has taken its toll on mom as well. When not driving herself crazy on Google, Lisa Mathis is cleaning.

"I'm pretty sure I don't have any fingerprints left from all the constant cleaning. You look at everything differently. You look at a glass differently like, 'Who's touched that?'"

With no preexisting conditions or underlying health issues, it's hard to make sense of this marathon illness.

58 days later, there is some light at the end of the tunnel and a dose of understandable skepticism.

"Fever has definitely been knocked down a few pegs. Crossing my fingers, hoping I'm on the way to recovery but I'm not getting too excited quite yet," said Mathis.

"I'm allowing myself to get excited that honestly she's well enough for me to sit this close to her. And this - it feels weird," said Lisa.

And after so long, how will that first hug feel?

"Oh my gosh... I can't wait. I can't wait," said Lisa.

Lacey's only cuddle partner has been her cat Bernini who is quarantined with her. So far, mom, dad and her older brother have avoided the disease.
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