COVID19 Planners

Quarantine Continues + Giveaway Winners

December 30, 2020

Well. Just as we were starting to near the latter part of the kids’ quarantine countdown (today is day #12), we have restarted the clock.

Josh tested positive yesterday. He has had cough and significant fatigue the past few days. We both tested negative 3 days ago despite both being mildly symptomatic; then I improved and he worsened. THIS DISEASE IS REALLY CONFUSING. I am sure he would have been contagious 3 days ago, yet he had a negative test. This was his third test in the space of just over 1 week and the first two were negative.

I am now the only human who spends time in this house who has not tested positive. I feel part android, part ticking time bomb. I have a super-mild cough again (it keeps waxing + waning) and am going to test again soon.

(BTW YES, I have tracked all of everyone’s symptoms + test results in my planner, on a page with carefully handlettered curse words on it.)

Needless to say, our home remains in quarantine status and no one can go to work for quite some time. I am probably going to be able to go back to work to see patients virtually (from home!) on 1/4.

LESSON: Do not be reassured by a negative test if someone has had a sick contact and/or has symptoms!!! The doctor part of me is vindicated because I couldn’t imagine how he could be negative the way he was acting. But the rest of me is really sad and annoyed and anxious and just ugh.

Hopefully Josh’s case will remain on the mild side (again, perhaps some help from the vaccine?! He got his dose #1 2 weeks ago).

Hopefully I won’t ever really get it, if that’s possible?!

Hopefully life will return to something approximating normalcy (the post-COVID normal, not normal normal) again someday.


On the up side, here are some pix of the kids during some of the more positive moments:

duplo collaborative play
the best


I used a random number generator and sorted the comments in order of timestamp through WordPress.

Random Selections #1 and #2:

Luckily, they each had a different choice so these were the 2 winners!

#132 Kiran is the winner of the SPACES planner!

She wrote: “I’d love to try the Spaces!”

#189 Kylie is the winner of the WEEKS set!

She wrote: “Would love to try out the WEEKS! Thanks for all you do; your work is helping me really gear up for a great 2021!”

I will email you both today and get your addresses! (I do have randomly selected runners up for each in case I get no response . . . just in case!).


  • Reply Maureen December 30, 2020 at 7:23 am

    Wow so sorry to hear this. This disease is just insidious. Thanks for sharing your story; I think it’s so important for people to hear this and perhaps not take a chance they were thinking of taking. Sending all my good wishes to you and family!

    • Reply Jessica December 30, 2020 at 1:44 pm

      Sending good wishes to you & your family! I feel your pain – mid-December my husband got COVID, then we all got COVID (me & toddler) and we’re quarantined til 1/3.

      Ironically we got it during the only weeks we’d taken off work this year, intending to do some fun outdoor activities as a family. Thankfully we didn’t spread it, we’re all feeling much better but it’s been rough and we’re still pretty fatigued.

      Anyway hope you all continue to have mild cases and get through this ok.

  • Reply Nadine December 30, 2020 at 7:27 am

    Such a beastly disease. I really feel for you as a ticking time bomb – logic says you’re unlikely not to get it, but hears hoping you don’t! Sending you all warm wishes for a speedy recovery. Nadine xx

    • Reply Jamie December 30, 2020 at 11:33 am

      I just wanted to say thank you for posting so openly and honestly about this. I’m a mere mortal working from home alongside my spouse but we made the decision to send our kids back to daycare/preschool/pre-k. A lot of people in our circle act like you only get it if you’re going to Disney and eating inside of a packed Chewys every day. Or you can be a saint who has not left their house since March and you will be spared. We have not had it, but this is luck because we are in the middle- school is our only indoor exposure but we do hike, go to the zoo, botanic gardens. Not sure why given those parameters, but I find your story to be really helpful and comforting. Wishing you all a recovery that is complete and a better start to your new year.

  • Reply Nadine December 30, 2020 at 7:28 am

    *here’s – oops!

  • Reply Sam December 30, 2020 at 7:30 am

    Ugh…I hope you continue to feel okay. COVID is such a weird and confusing virus. So weird about the negative tests.

  • Reply Aly December 30, 2020 at 7:35 am

    I’m so sorry to hear that Josh has it too. Ugh. It almost seems inevitable that it will run through a whole family, when you have small kids and you can’t isolate. So hard. Here’s hoping that you all get well quickly and can put this behind you and start 2021 better than ever.

  • Reply Marina December 30, 2020 at 7:50 am

    I’m hoping that the vaccine is doing its job and that your family stays healthy Sarah! Thanks for keeping up the posting, I know I and lots of others here appreciate it.

  • Reply Omdg December 30, 2020 at 8:00 am

    Interesting your work is letting you return symptomatic (mild cough) with 4 positive household members. I wonder what my work would say, though not eager to find out. Probably the same thing.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger December 30, 2020 at 8:14 am

      Nooo Telehealth! From home!!!

      • Reply Omdg December 30, 2020 at 8:22 am

        Gah. That doesn’t sound fun either. I hope you guys feel better soon.

        • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger December 30, 2020 at 8:25 am

          Not fun no. Esp w kids at home. But safer!

    • Reply Sarah December 30, 2020 at 9:05 am

      I am NP who works in IM. My employer policy has us work if in quarantine (including symptomatic spouse or household member) until we ourselves are symptomatic. My MA had a son and husband with Covid-19 at home and worked 2 days w me until she lost her taste and then got tested/ stayed home. I did not get a test or have to quarantine because we were both masked. It is interesting how many tests Sarah and her family have access too compared to how difficult it is to get them in my state/health care system.

      • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger December 30, 2020 at 9:09 am

        Tests are free and easy to come by in our area. In a public test line right now …

        • Reply Sarah December 30, 2020 at 9:12 am

          I truly believe that would help so much..easy, cheap and quick turnaround would encourage others to test more freely. I hope a change in leadership will move towards achieving that.

        • Reply Tara December 30, 2020 at 5:24 pm

          In case this is helpful for anyone, there’s a home RTPCR test by labcorp that you can get through insurance or w/o if you don’t have it. It’s pretty quick in turnaround (1-2 days).

      • Reply Anon December 30, 2020 at 10:19 am

        I hope your patients are informed about your policies – doesn’t this violate CDC guidelines?

        • Reply Sarah December 30, 2020 at 10:25 am

          It does not. I will attach the policy which allows this in areas with HCP (health care provider) shortages due to the pandemic. We are extremely short staffed due to staff out with Covid and thus had to implement this. It is not widely advertised but I would guess many other facilities are doing the same in areas with high Covid rates. It has passed through our infection control panel

      • Reply Danielle December 30, 2020 at 1:23 pm

        Tests are free and easy to schedule in my area as well (WA state). I wish access across the US was more uniform.

  • Reply Taryn December 30, 2020 at 8:19 am

    I’m catching up on blog posts and missed a lot. So sorry to hear that your family tested positive! I hope they make a quick recovery and hopefully you continue to feel ok. Wow, what a way to end a terrible year. Take good care of yourself!

  • Reply Krista December 30, 2020 at 8:27 am

    Yuck and yikes! My daughter was tested yesterday because she has some symptoms (no cough and no exposure…that we know of) and our doctor gave me the whole speech about presumed positives because of the tests not always being so accurate. We’re all quarantining but hoping for a negative test and no more symptoms so that we can fee confident it’s not covid. I hope Josh feels better soon and no one else feels worse!

  • Reply Maya December 30, 2020 at 8:30 am

    I hope you’re taking care of yourself as you nurse and monitor the rest of your family, and I hope all of you are better soon. “Feel positive, test negative” as they say <3

  • Reply Keren December 30, 2020 at 8:41 am

    Hope Josh will get well soon. Hang in there….

  • Reply PTS December 30, 2020 at 8:44 am

    Oh no! I hope you all have easy recoveries (or in your case, no more symptoms).

    Curious to hear how the kids are handling it (and how you’re talking to them about it) if you’re open to sharing.

  • Reply Gillian December 30, 2020 at 8:55 am

    Ugh! That all sounds awful. On the upside, there are some people who just don’t seem to get it. My sister and mother and had several very close contacts (including my nephew and my sister’s SO) and have not gotten it. Nothing to hang your hat on of course, but you never know, you might not get it. Glad to hear Josh is relatively mild..hope that continues. Can Josh really isolate from you (in a room with his own bathroom etc) so that your quarantine clock resets today and not 10 days from now? I am so sorry, this really is such a tough situation for families with kids…and really for everyone.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger December 30, 2020 at 10:18 am

      I’ve had off and on symptoms and coughing today quite a bit so i think the isolation ship has sailed long ago.

      • Reply Gillian December 30, 2020 at 11:29 am

        Almost better to test positive then and get it over with…assuming a mild case. Good luck!

  • Reply Anna December 30, 2020 at 9:01 am

    Holy cow that is super frustrating and scary! This is the trickiest disease—no wonder it spreads like it does, I’m so sorry! I hope you continue to feel ok and Josh is well soon.

  • Reply Jordan December 30, 2020 at 9:11 am

    Ugh I’m so sorry! Hoping he feels better asap and you don’t get worse. Echoing another commenter, I’d be curious to hear how you’re talking to the kids about it. My 4 year old talks about the “Big Virus” and we’ve had to isolate before after an exposure and keep them out of preschool and I kept it high level because I didn’t want her to be scared but then she talked about how she was afraid her grandparents were going to die 🙁 so clearly there is chatter going around her preschool.

    Re testing, I have a friend right now whose entire family and elderly parents got Covid after her little sister tested negative before a Christmas gathering and then developed symptoms after the holiday. Ugh, such a nightmare and people need to know that one test doesn’t make it safe to gather!

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa’s Yarns December 30, 2020 at 9:22 am

    Ugh sorry to hear Josh has it and is not feeling well. The reliability of testing is really concerning because people make decisions based on that. So that coupled with asymptomatic carriers makes this disease so tough! I had mentioned how a coworker tested negative 3 times but lost his sense of taste/smell and ended up with pneumonia so his doctor is certain he had it. It’s been almost a month and he is still not feeling great so this disease can really wipe you out!

    2020 just keeps packing the punches. I hope Josh can get his 2nd dose? Not sure how having Covid impacts your ability to get the vaccine? Fingers crossed you stay healthy!!

  • Reply Arden December 30, 2020 at 9:24 am

    Oh no! That sucks Sarah. 🙁

  • Reply Robyn December 30, 2020 at 9:27 am

    Hoping your family has a speedy recovery and that you stay well! My adult stepdaughter was very sick with COVID and her 6 year old son never tested positive or had any symptoms. So it is possible to live together and not contract it. I hope that is the case for you!

  • Reply Aly December 30, 2020 at 9:28 am

    “…carefully handlettered curse words on it,” insert laughing/crying emoji. thinking of you all and sending healthy/healing vibes!

  • Reply CBS December 30, 2020 at 9:45 am

    Oh my gosh, how horrible! They’ve just approved the Oxford vaccine here, which appears to be cheap, plentiful, and a single dose, although maybe less effective. Given this new UK strain, I do hope they will get creative about getting it out quickly.

  • Reply Lee December 30, 2020 at 9:58 am

    Hang in there, Sarah! Thinking of you all.

  • Reply Brooke December 30, 2020 at 10:40 am

    Add me to the chorus of “ugh”s for you! Sending you strength and patience! I’m curious, have all these tests been PCR? Our nanny had a headache one Wednesday in December, got a negative antigen (rapid)
    test that same day and felt better, so returned to work on Thursday before husband got a positive PCR result on Friday morning (his only symptom had been fatigue; I’m so thankful he happened to get himself tested!). So our nanny got both antigen and PCR tests on Friday and they came back negative and positive, respectively. (So for the 3 days between receipt of those test results, we were hopeful we were in the clear!). We did remain healthy/negative during our quarantine, thankfully. There is a field of thought that negative antigen tests mean there isn’t enough viral load to be contagious, but still- I now shudder to think of all of the people making decisions based on rapid/antigen tests.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger December 30, 2020 at 11:05 am

      all PCR. None of us have ever gotten a rapid.

      • Reply Elisabeth December 30, 2020 at 1:26 pm

        I’m a clinical lab scientist who runs rapid antigen, rapid molecular and RT-PCR COVID testing (all Roche and Abbott, with Roche RT-PCR having a very high sensitivity, aka low false negatives). Even PCR tests are not fully accurate while asymptomatic because they still need a high enough viral load to be accurate. The PCR test can also give a false negative if the sample is collected very early in a mildly symptomatic person (days 1-4) or if collected too late into the infection as the viral load lessens. And actually, in some highly symptomatic/ill patients, the virus seems to actually travel further into the respiratory system to the point that COVID is only detectable using a bronchoalveolar lavage specimen (negative on nasal, nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal).

        All to say that a negative test does NOT mean you are safe to other people!

        • Reply Steph December 30, 2020 at 6:45 pm

          I also work in diagnostic testing and I would definitely consider yourself infected regardless of what the test says. As Elisabeth said, although the tests are very sensitive they can miss early or low viral load infections. The fact that you are symptomatic and exposed makes it far more likely that your test is a false negative than a random person getting tested with no reason to think they have COVID. I am not an expert in this area but I think the jury is still out on how likely people with probable COVID but negative PCR tests are to transmit the disease, but I would assume you are contagious (which I’m sure you’re doing!). I’m so sorry your family is sick! Hope everyone feels better soon!

  • Reply Elizabeth December 30, 2020 at 11:09 am

    Sarah, I’m so sorry Josh has COVID and you are experiencing symptoms! How utterly frustrating. If you test positive today or in a few days, would that start the clock over again (again)? I guess it shows that one dose of the vaccine is truly not enough to protect one from it!! I hope the public will follow through with getting both doses!!!! Thank you for publicly posting about this experience. Even though it’s anecdotal, it’s definitely had a powerful influence on my own understanding of the disease and how it can travel/infect over time. Personally I will be ceasing bringing kids with me to any indoor errands again for the time being. It’s not worth the increased exposure.

    But back to your family—I know you aren’t religious, but I hope you won’t mind me keeping your family’s health and recovery in my prayers. I am so sorry you’re going through this. All the screen time and more magna tiles / LEGOS / indoor creative play toys while you wait this out?? Be well! Sending hugs—even though we‘ve never met in person I care very much that you and your family get through this in good health and good spirits.

  • Reply A December 30, 2020 at 12:06 pm

    Ughhh noooo. And especially when you both were waiting for dose 2 of the vaccine 🙁

    I really really hope that this is as bad as it gets, and you both recover quickly and quarantine ends when it should and this is behind you. Hoping the kiddos and nanny continue to stay healthy/asymptomatic.

    I’m so sorry 🙁 sending all the positive energy

  • Reply Katie December 30, 2020 at 1:14 pm

    So sorry Sarah. Thinking of you all and hoping the quarantine time passes as quickly and painlessly as possible.

  • Reply Sophia December 30, 2020 at 1:19 pm

    ugh. Curious why you are testing again v. just presuming that you’re positive given exposure and mild sx. Either way, that’s a crappy end to a difficult year. I’m hoping for an uneventful course for all of you.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger December 30, 2020 at 3:06 pm

      In part because I want to start my quarantine clock (starts sooner if I have it vs waiting for days post-exposure) and also bc if I need to take some days off of work (ie actually use sick or disability time) I feel like they would be more accepting if I have “proof”. Luckily I am not on call until late Jan so I won’t be causing anyone to have to cover for me!

  • Reply Anastasia December 30, 2020 at 3:12 pm

    Oh my gosh, how terrible. Sending you all healing vibes!

  • Reply Coco December 30, 2020 at 4:24 pm

    so sorry to hear the COVID situation at home, that must be so stressful.
    i wonder why the vaccine didn’t help him? does he need two doses to be effective?

  • Reply Sara December 30, 2020 at 4:25 pm

    I know you’re not spending a lot of time on Insta these days but wanted to point you toward Angela Kinsey (from The Office), who seems to be going through v. similar situation / timeline as your family and has been sharing pretty candidly / empathetically (2 kids diagnosed, then 3rd and husband positive and a few days later she finally showed symptoms and tested positive… kids all seem to be asymptomatic). Hope you are ALL on the mend and feeling better soon. Thinking of you!

  • Reply rose December 30, 2020 at 4:42 pm

    Super good example of what a ‘negative’ test does and does not mean. including that it can mean not yet enough to show on tests. I am sorry and hope the virus in your household stays mild. A huge unknown.
    Thank you for sharing and educating people this way. Just before read this was thinking of ‘safe’ task to do … not safe enough on reflection, staying home. Thank you for making that easier to decide.
    Best wishes.

  • Reply S December 30, 2020 at 4:47 pm

    Fingers crossed that you have already had the worst symptoms you’re going to have. In a house full of COVID, seems EXTREMELY likely that any symptoms would be from COVID regardless of test result. I am in diagnostic testing (not virology though) and false negative results happen all the time for a lot of reasons.

    Good for you for doing everything right with regard to testing. It is crazy how out of control this pandemic is. I truly hope everyone stays safe in your house.

  • Reply Milly December 30, 2020 at 5:14 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear this. You and your family are in my thoughts!

  • Reply Alyce December 30, 2020 at 10:27 pm

    Damn, this really blows. Sorry to hear Josh is sick and you’re symptomatic and the clock is starting again. Hang in there.

  • Reply Sarah December 31, 2020 at 6:33 am

    Just echoing everyone else’s comments to say wow, this REALLY sucks, and I’m sorry. I hope everyone recovers soon and will keep you all in my thoughts. Maybe champagne has some antiviral properties?

  • Reply Joy December 31, 2020 at 6:36 am

    I’m so sorry to hear that Josh has it and you have symptoms. I hope you feel better quickly and that it stays mild for you all.

  • Reply Cate December 31, 2020 at 10:39 am

    Thinking of you all. Your blog has helped cheer me along all through the pandemic, so thank you, and I really hope you all make a swift recovery.

    • Reply Shelley lee December 31, 2020 at 12:33 pm

      Praying for you!! I do appreciate your sharing the nitty gritty- so helpful for the rest of us.

  • Reply Hope January 1, 2021 at 7:15 am

    Happy New Year Sara ! I’m just catching up. Thank you so much for this wonderful Podcast. I’m just catching up on the blog again. So sorry that Josh has COVID. Hope it isn’t more than a mild case and that he and the kids get better soon. I also hope that you continue to test negative. Hope life goes back to post COVID normal soon.

    Praying for you!

    Thank you for sharing this and your professional goals.

  • Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.