Back to the Grind

Jerry Scudder poses in his coffee shop, Scudder & Co. Coffee on Main, Monday, Oct. 19, in Washington. The shop was closed briefly due to a COVID-19 exposure, but has since reopened.      Missourian Photo/Kristen Dragotto.

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, 2,436 Franklin County residents have tested positive for the virus, which has sickened more than 8.2 million Americans — including 159,625 Missourians — and led to the deaths of more than 218,000 people nationwide.

Among those locally to contract the virus is Jerry Scudder, owner of Scudder & Co. Coffee on Main.

“COVID-19 is real. It isn’t a joke,” Scudder said. “People need to hold respect on the fact it can kill or create lasting problems.”

Scudder shared his personal experience with The Missourian in hopes of raising awareness to the seriousness of the COVID-19 virus.

Scudder said the virus has had a serious impact on his own personal health, the health of his wife, Kim, and two of the coffee shop’s employees — as well as the downtown coffee shop, which closed its doors Sept. 28 for two weeks after Kim Scudder tested positive.

During the two-week closure, four out of the seven employees who work at the coffee shop were quarantined, and two of those four tested positive for the virus.

Scudder reported that his business paid all seven of its employees during the closure, despite having lost about 50 percent of its monthly revenue.

According to Scudder, his wife became symptomatic Sept. 21. Three days later she was tested for the virus.

On Sept. 26, she was notified she had tested positive.

“Kim had been super careful,” Scudder said, adding the only event she had been to in recent weeks was Thirsty Thursday, which their business participated in.

Two days later, Scudder said he started feeling ill and decided it was time to get tested. It was that same day, Sept. 28, that Scudder decided his business would temporarily shut its doors.

“The health department did not mandate us to close, but we decided it was best for both our employees and customers,” Scudder said.

Scudder received his positive test results Sept. 30, and he said this virus was unlike anything he had ever been sick with before.

“The virus made me feel detached, I couldn’t concentrate and I just felt out of it,” Scudder said, which was the one thing that was most notable to his experience.

Scudder had a fever for a couple of days but said the achiness and pain in his joints lasted well over a week.

“My muscles had that lactic acid burn you get when working out — except it was constant,” Scudder said. “I felt like I was 100 years old learning to walk again.”

The exhaustion was so severe that he once fell asleep in the shower in the early stages of being sick. Scudder added he did not have any major respiratory issues and had a cough, which lingered for a while.

Scudder said six days after presenting symptoms, he slowly started feeling better. His wife, however, remained ill.

“I came home and she was still white as a ghost and had used her inhaler like 10 times, which is more than you should,” Scudder said. “So, I took her to the ER at Mercy Hospital Washington.”

Kim, according to Scudder, has pre-existing health issues that make her high-risk for developing serious complications from COVID-19.

“Her oxygen levels were low, and it was determined she needed oxygen,” Scudder said, adding that she was diagnosed with COVID-19-induced pneumonia. She is currently resting at home.

After having his own brush with COVID-19, Scudder said he hopes his story will bring awareness to how serious the virus is. He added he hopes how his business handled its own COVID-19 outbreak will be an example.

“We need to look past the dollars and cents and think about the community and how our decisions impact them,” Scudder said.