JAMESTOWN – WNY News Now News Director Justin Gould says that he found out Thursday morning that he’s tested positive for COVID-19, less than 24 hours after being tested at Jones Memorial Hospital.
The announcement came after his girlfriend, McKenzie, received a positive test Wednesday evening. Gould says he wanted to share his status with the community in an effort to provide transparency throughout the process, including the precautions that the he and the WNY News Now staff have taken to minimize the spread of the virus.
Gould explains that his girlfriend started exhibiting symptoms of the virus over the weekend, which resulted in her getting tested. Gould, himself, started to experience symptoms earlier this week, which ranged from a “tickle” in the throat, to a temporary loss of taste as well as cold symptoms.
“Both of us are doing well, minus general cold symptoms,” Gould told me Thursday. “A lot of people say what separates COVID from a cold can be loss of taste, without a stuffy nose. This morning I have a stuffy nose. Last night I didn’t have a stuffy nose, and it was within an hours time, my taste faded. I was busy working on my computer here, and then I went to eat dinner and I couldn’t taste anything, and at that point, I had a pretty good suspicion I was going to test positive.”
Gould is the first person to be exclusively interviewed by WNY News Now after receiving a positive COVID-19 diagnosis. I asked him to guide us through the emotions that he and his girlfriend were experiencing after receiving the diagnosis.
“It is upsetting. Very upsetting,” Gould said. “Last night, when my girlfriend learned she tested positive, we were both pretty upset, mainly because with PPE and precautions that we’ve taken, we like many other people, are out in the community. And we’re very concerned for the loved ones that we’re in contact with. It’s not so much we are concerned for us because we are young and healthy and, thank God, right now our symptoms are mild, but our concerns were for other people.”
The News Director says that he began the transition of working from home Tuesday afternoon in preparation of a positive test for himself, as well as his girlfriend. Gould additionally details how he worked remotely from home that evening as WNY News Now provided live coverage of the 2020 Chautauqua County election night.
Gould explains that his contagious period is considered to have begun on Monday, according to information that he’s received from contract tracers.
At the start of the pandemic, WNY News Now implemented sanitation, social distancing and other CDC guidelines for the staff when working for the company, whether it’d be in or out of the newsroom.
Gould did wear extra PPE Monday and Tuesday as he transitioned to working from home.
“As essential workers, we still go into work, but I’m still very much afraid for you guys, (others who work in the newsroom) all of you, because I don’t want us to have bad side effects of it,” Gould said. “And it’s not even so much I think about us, but I think about the people that we’ve come into contact with. That’s what was going through my mind.”
A journalist who is writing a story very rarely uses the words “I” or “Me” in their articles, simply because the story is not about the writer. In this case, the story really isn’t about Gould or myself.
I am making an exception in this case, though. I want to inform those who’ve watched the interview and who’ve read the article that I am also quarantining myself effective last night, other than working in any essential capacity, pending a negative test. I will be tested through my other place of employment Thursday afternoon, with the results expected by Friday evening.
As of publish time, I am awaiting an expected call from a contact tracer. The rest of our staff will also be working from home for the time being as a precaution.
The video above contains the full 22-minute Zoom interview with myself and Gould.