VALLEY, Ala. (WTVM) - An East Alabama police officer and almost a dozen of his family members tested positive for COVID-19, all while several other members of the force were out sick with the virus too.
Two months after testing positive for COVID-19, Officer Stephen Doyal is now reflecting on the experience he and his family endured in East Alabama.
“The worst was the concern that there may be bad results for a family member,” he said.
In total, 10 family members all tested positive for the virus, including Doyal, his wife and two kids, plus his wife’s 89-year-old grandmother.
“[She] got hospitalized for 46 days,” he said. “She was actually in ICU twice during that time, was on the ventilator several different times.”
Doyal said another family member had to get extra medical care as well.
“My wife’s stepsister’s husband was actually hospitalized for eight days,” Doyal said. “And he’s younger than me and very healthy. He had some struggles with it.”
All the while, Doyal was also one of several officers with the Valley Police Department who tested positive at the same time. According to their police chief, while Doyal was sick, two of their four detectives were also quarantined after testing positive for the virus.
“We were very concerned about all our employees health,” Chief Tommy Weldon said.
Doyal said he wasn’t concerned about himself, as his symptoms were mild, but it was a difficult battle for the entire family.
“With such a number of family members, normally family comes to help when somebody is sick,” he said. “With this, you can’t be around it. We were all kind of in a position where we were kind of on our own. You couldn’t rush to their aid.”
Though all 10 family members have recovered, Doyal is warning the community to be cautious.
“I would just urge everyone to take your precautions, wear your mask, use your hand sanitizer,” he said.
Doyal said all his family members are now back to work and school.