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Chula Vista Councilman with coronavirus: 'It's like having the worst flu'

Council member Steve Padilla was diagnosed with COVID-19 Saturday.

CHULA VISTA, Calif. — Chula Vista City Council member Steve Padilla remained under home quarantine Monday after testing positive for COVID-19 over the weekend.

"It's like having the worst flu, at least in my case," Padilla told News 8 by phone. "Body aches, fever, just feeling lousy overall."

He said his symptoms were so mild initially he thought they were just allergies. Thursday he was in Santa Cruz for a California Coastal Commission meeting. He's the chair of the commission.

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"We were wiping down the microphones after speakers spoke to address the commission. We were reminding people how to practice good hygiene and to keep their distance," he said. "We were following all the state guidelines."

But that night, his health took a turn.

"The runny nose dried up. I got a dry cough, fever, aches, and started feeling pretty lousy pretty quickly."

Friday night, he took Tylenol and went to bed.

"I woke up two hours later shaking and shivering so bad my teeth were chattering, and that never happens to me," said Padilla. "Really, really bad shakes and fever. My fever was like 102 and that was after I had taken the acetaminophen. That freaked me out a little bit because I could only imagine what my temperature was before that."

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His doctor urged him to go to the emergency room. He went to Thornton Hospital in La Jolla.

Saturday he found out he had tested positive for COVID-19.

"Which surprised me," he said. "And that is the scary thing. People tend to think they see it on the news and they think it's someplace far away or somewhere else and not in their community and the reality is, it's here."

He went public with the information on social media.

"It is like something out of movie right? It's not something you expect to be doing. Sharing personal health information on a broad scale publicly and to be dealing with a pandemic that’s come home," Padilla said.

His message is this: "There's nobody overreacting to this. This is a serious state of affairs everyone should take it seriously."

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