Laura and Kyndel Bennett

After two weeks of aches, chills and some sensory loss, Laura Bennett, 50, and her husband, Kyndel, 48, are finally feeling better.

The married couple live in the Independent, a luxury condominium building in downtown Austin, with their two teen-aged children.

Kyndel is the CEO of Cayetano Development, a local real estate firm. He left work at midday on Friday, March 13, because he wasn't feeling great—some body aches and fatigue—and took a nap.




That evening, he and his wife went to dinner at WuChow, but they mostly stayed home over the weekend, and their kids went to stay at the family's ranch property in Blanco, about 45 miles west of Austin, to avoid catching what their father had.

"They ended up staying for two weeks," Laura said.

By Monday, Laura exhibited the same symptoms as her husband—as did five of the six colleagues who share Kyndel's office space. Many of their partners became ill in the ensuing days.

"We never had fever. We never had a cough. And we never had shortness of breath. And so it never crossed our minds that we had COVID," she said. "We went about our lives. We live in an apartment complex. We were going up and down the elevator. We were doing our thing because we thought we just had some little bug."

With so many people in Kyndel's office affected, however, the couple decided it was likely COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus. One of his colleagues went to the hospital with the same symptoms and, although unable to get tested, was told by a doctor that it was likely COVID-19.

The Bennetts managed their symptoms at home and didn't seek out treatment.

"We had three other people that were in the office that did go to the doctor and weren't able to get tested," Laura said. "So we decided, 'What was the point?'"

By the end of the week, both had one day of respite.

"Suddenly, we all felt great and thought we were done," Laura said.

Then their symptoms returned. Laura lost her sense of taste and smell for a couple days, but neither developed more severe symptoms.

Two of Kyndel's colleagues ended up going to the hospital because of difficulty breathing and a fever that wouldn't break. One is improving, but Laura said she remains worried about the other.

For the last two days, the couple has been symptom-free, but they are concerned about continued spread.

"There's not a whole lot of physical contact happening in an office, and for everyone to have gotten it in 48 hours—from touching the coffee maker or what it was—is kind of terrifying," Laura said.

She and her husband isolated themselves once they realized they were likely infected, but they recommend that others stay home even if they aren't displaying symptoms.

"These numbers of who has it in Travis County are so wrong because nobody can get a test," Laura said. "None of our [group] are showing up on those numbers."


(Austonia staff)

Several Austin City Council members either called for Austin Police Chief Brian Manley to step down or suggested that he should during a special City Council meeting today.

Keep Reading Show less
(Tito's Handmade Vodka)

Sponsored by Tito's Handmade Vodka

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. Tito's Handmade Vodka
  • 3/4 oz. lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz. simple syrup
  • blackberries, muddled

Directions: Muddle blackberries in a shaker. Add Tito's Handmade Vodka, lemon juice, simple syrup, and ice. Shake and strain into glass over crushed ice and garnish with blackberries.

Austin residents who have been participating in protests and other gatherings, or have been unable to socially distance during the pandemic, will be allowed to sign up for a free COVID-19 test starting Friday at the city's drive-thru testing site, according to a notice by Austin Public Health.

Keep Reading Show less

As local activists groups see a chance to gain support for defunding the Austin Police Department, we wanted to know where Austonia readers stood on the issue. Yesterday, we asked, "What should the City Council do about the APD budget?" and the results show 53% voted to add funding to APD.

Results of APD budget survey


Keep Reading Show less
(Roschetzky Photography/Shutterstock)

"We have been listening and learning," reads a message on the Cedar Park Police Department's Facebook page.

It would be easy for Cedar Park Mayor Corbin Van Arsdale, whose community is more than 80% white, to look at the unrest happening in larger metro areas like Austin and decide it's not his problem.

Keep Reading Show less

Yesterday's protests in Austin brought out University of Texas football players. Players marched arm-in-arm with others from Royal-Memorial Stadium to the State Capitol to demonstrate against police brutality in the seventh day of Austin protests.

Keep Reading Show less
(Austonia staff)

Protesters shut down I-35 in Austin.

The Austin Police Department will no longer use the lead-filled fabric pillows known as bean bag rounds—a form of "less lethal" ammunition that was used against protesters last weekend and seriously injured several—in crowd situations, Chief Brian Manley told the City Council yesterday.

Keep Reading Show less