COOPER CITY, Fla. – Throughout her long career as a meteorologist, Betty Davis has prepared for hurricanes, tornados, and flash floods. But there was no way she could have prepared for what the coronavirus pandemic would bring.
Florida’s number of coronavirus cases started to increase in March. But despite taking every precaution, Davis tested positive for the coronavirus in early July.
“I had been preparing for something like this in early March, in fact by the end of February I had stopped going anywhere really and by early March I had everything stocked,” said Davis, Local 10 News' chief certified meteorologist.
Davis has decided to use her experience with Covid-19 to help others. Her symptoms worsened gradually.
“I had one little cough. I knew that was not going well for me but I thought maybe it was dust or something,” Davis said.
That cough was followed by a persistent headache, then a spike in body temperature, which turned into a dangerously high fever.
“It got to the point where I couldn’t control the fever with Tylenol," Davis said. “I would literally have to lie on my bed all day and all night with ice packs lining my back.”
When her blood oxygen levels started to drop Davis was hospitalized. She battled with pneumonia for three days.
“It was really frightening,” Davis said.
After returning home, she needed several weeks to recover. That’s when Davis made a commitment to give back.
“I wanted to get past everything that happened and turn a negative into a positive,” Davis said.
When she was well enough, Davis signed up to donate her plasma. According to Susan Forbes, a spokeswoman for OneBlood, a local blood center, one convalescent plasma donation has the potential of helping up to three Covid-19 patients.
"It’s a 24-hour effort behind the scenes,” Forbes said.
Forbes said the samples are screened for any potential diseases before it is processed. OneBlood discards the units that don’t pass the safety testing. The units that do are given the green light for distribution.
“We service over 260 hospitals throughout the southeast, and as patients need these donations, we are distributing them to where they are needed," Forbes said.
Davis recently donated her plasma for the second time and said she’s feeling stronger every day.
“I’m back on TV doing the weather and I’m happy to be back,” she said.
There are several ongoing studies exploring the benefits of convalescent plasma including its possible use in the early stages of infection for people with mild cases that don’t require hospitalization.