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Baltimore County Health Officer Says He Has Recovered From COVID-19

Baltimore County

Baltimore County Health Officer Dr. Gregory Branch said he has recovered following contracting COVID-19 several weeks ago.

Branch said he considers himself blessed because his symptoms were mild. He continued working while he was self-isolating and said he now is “back to my old self.”

He has no idea how he contracted COVID. Branch said he was following safety guidelines such as wearing a mask, social distancing and staying away from crowds.

“That is the key to this particular disease; it’s ubiquitous,” Branch said. “So you can do everything that’s right and still contract the disease."

As soon as he started showing symptoms, Branch said he self-isolated in his home, called his doctor, got tested and was surprised when it came back positive.

“In my mind I was saying I’ve just got a little bit of a cold,” Branch said. “And I said it was probably nothing. However, I immediately got tested.”

Branch said he lives with his son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter, but he was able to isolate himself from them.

“I was able to stay predominantly in my room,” Branch said. “I was fortunate enough that I was able to isolate from my family in my home. Everybody’s not able to do that.”

Branch said he did not have to be hospitalized.

Health officials have been urging people who test positive for COVID-19 to cooperate with contact tracers who are trying to track down everyone with whom that person has been in contact. Branch said he picked up the phone and answered the contact tracer’s questions but he said it was a little rough.

“They’re asking you a lot of questions and you don’t feel well,” Branch said. “I didn’t have an appreciation of that until I had to go through it. I just say to people just hang in there, answer the phone and answer the questions as much as you possibly can because it’s going to help in the long run.”

Branch’s COVID mantra remains the same. It’s the three Ws of wear a mask, wash your hands and watch your distance.

“You don’t want to take that chance because you don’t know how your body’s going to react to the COVID,” Branch said.

Branch said he’s thankful for the outpouring of warmth and concern he received after his COVID-19 diagnosis was made public July 30.


John Lee is a reporter for WYPR covering Baltimore County. @JohnWesleyLee2
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