Clay County teacher tests positive for COVID-19: 'My worst day it felt like I couldn't breathe.'

Posted at 6:31 PM, Apr 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-01 21:49:28-04

CELINA, Tenn. (WTVF) — A Clay county teacher who tested positive for COVID-19 was the first positive case in the county. She talked with NewsChannel 5 about her experience.

Cherese Kaslikowski says she had a light cough March 17 but didn’t think much of it at first.

It wasn’t until after she had a light fever that she decided to get tested. When she got her results back on Monday, it confirmed her suspicions that she had COVID-19

"I did get progressively worse," said Kaslikowski, "My worst day it felt like I couldn't breathe, I was just getting up so that I could try and breathe."

Kaslikowski is a 5th and 6th grade teacher at Celina K-8. Clay county schools did not close down until March 18. The 39-year-old says it’s just one of those things where you don’t know who you’re going to get it from or who you’re going to give it to.

"I wasn't around anyone that was a confirmed positive," said Kaslikowski, "Even when I was still going to school, we were being very cautious, doing things like not touching hands. I didn't even go to the grocery store at that point and I still got it, and I don't know where it came from."

Kaslikowski has been isolating herself and she’s encouraging others to do the same. She says this virus needs to be taken seriously, especially with how quickly it can spread.

Her husband and two kids have also been tested.


See all our coronavirus coverage here


What is COVID-19 (a.k.a. the new coronavirus?)

According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. Examples include the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV)and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. COVID-19 stands for "Coronavirus disease 2019," which is when this strain of the coronavirus was discovered.

What are the symptoms?

The CDC says patients confirmed to have the 2019-nCoV reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Or at least two of the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

At this time, the CDC believes symptoms could appear as soon as two days after exposure, or as long as 14 days.


The CDC is recommending "common sense" measures such as:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.