DALLAS - The only Dallas police officer to be hospitalized with COVID-19 is returning to work Saturday after a long battle with the virus.
Dallas Police Officer Kevin Thomas wants everyone to take the warnings about coronavirus seriously.
When he decided to become an officer six years ago he knew there were risks.
“I thought about being in a gunfight, chasing someone, how would that be,” Thomas said.
But being on the frontlines of a war with an invisible enemy was not a risk he considered.
“Makes it scarier than a gun fight,” Thomas said, acknowledging he was among the many who did not take COVID-19 seriously. “I'm normally a healthy person.”
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Thomas, who has Type 2 diabetes, is not sure how he contracted the virus. On March 24 he asked to go home from work because he wasn't feeling well.
“Feeling a little headache,” Thomas said.
For days his only symptoms were a fever and a headache -- no cough and no shortness of breath. After days of the fever not breaking, he went to the hospital to get tested. He had pneumonia.
“Had me on a whole bunch of oxygen, it wasn't working they sent me to ICU. That was very scary,” Thomas said.
With so little known about the virus, Thomas said he felt like a test dummy.
“It was a scary feeling when they said they don't know about this,” Thomas said.
After 10 days in the hospital, he was released and has now recovered.
“Wonderful feeling to be here on Earth and have a job. Would go to work today, but I'm off,” Thomas said on Friday.
After losing 20 pounds fighting the virus, he joked he may need to get a smaller uniform.
“My message is to take this seriously, something I didn't do. Wear your mask,” Thomas said.