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Clinton police captain back at work after fully recovering from COVID-19 diagnosis

Captain Joe Raaymakers tested positive for COVID-19 in March.

CLINTON, Iowa — Captain Joe Raaymakers is now back to work with the Clinton Police Department after testing positive for COVID-19 in mid-March.  

"(COVID-19 was) just the worst (kind of) flu I've had as an adult," he says.

Like millions of others across the country, Joe is working remotely from home, but a few weeks ago, his whole family's life was turned upside down. 

Within a week of his diagnosis, his wife got sick. And in two weeks, all three of his sons did too. 

He couldn't shake his flu symptoms for two weeks, but that wasn't the worst part of the virus. The smallest movements took his breath away.

"The respiratory problems were the scariest," Joe says. "Just sitting in bed watching T.V., or if I got dressed that day, putting on my socks was really a chore. I would lose my breath and get winded."

He was never treated at the hospital for the virus, and was prescribed an over-the-counter fever reducer and two inhalers.

Even though Joe's family is feeling better, he still feels responsible for spreading the virus to them. 

"The worst part, although being sick, is the knowledge you passed it on to someone else, especially a loved on," he says. 

Luckily, nobody else at the police department got sick. 

"It could be very devastating," Chief Kevin Gyrion says. "We have a small department. If it spreads through the department, we lose the ability to serve the community."

Chief Gyrion says officers are answering calls a little differently now, limiting interaction when they can on non-emergency calls and wearing gloves and masks out in the community. 

Joe hopes that people continue to stay safe and social distance themselves, even as the weather gets nicer.  

"If nothing else, for the guilt of passing it on for a loved one," he says.