Johnsonville worker shares his story after recovering from coronavirus

Local News

HOLTON, Kan. (KSNT) – A local man is preparing to go back to work at the Johnsonville meat plant after recovering from the coronavirus. He’s sharing his experience in hopes of showing others that there are success stories out there.

20-year-old Jachin Drinkard thought he was dealing with seasonal allergies.

“Everything felt just like a normal sinus infection you know. So it’s pretty difficult to say, oh I have COVID, when you really don’t know,” Drinkard said.

Then he told his managers at the Johnsonville plant in Holton about his symptoms and they sent him to get tested by the Jefferson County Health Department.

“They said you’ve tested positive for COVID. We need you to isolate. You’re going to follow the Jefferson County Health Department’s rules, and so I did,” Drinkard said.

Drinkard is one of almost 50 Johnsonville workers who’ve tested positive for the virus.

All throughout his isolation his symptoms were really mild, leaving him with a different outlook on the virus.

“There’s more stories out there that aren’t ‘I got hooked up to a ventilator, I lost 50 pounds, I barely survived,'” Drinkard said. “There are stories out there that the average guy just went on with his life. He stuck in quarantine and followed the rules and then went on with his life and got back to work.”

He said he isn’t trying to diminish how serious the virus can be for some.

“I hear all the horrible stories, you know, people on ventilators. I really empathize for those people and their families, because that has to be a horrible thing to go through,” Drinkard said. “But if you’re healthy, if your immune system is strong, it’s not just the death sentence that it can be portrayed as sometimes.”

For Drinkard it’s important to show others that there are a lot of positive stories of survival out there too.

“Don’t go out and put yourself at risk,” he said. “But also don’t live in a hermit shell and let fear consume you, because I think a lot of it is fear driven.”

Drinkard said he feels blessed that he’s come out of this just fine. He’s scheduled to get back to work at the Johnsonville plant on Thursday.

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