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Resilient mindset, asking for help is key to one ARPC COVID-19 recovery

Justin Lozada, a financial management specialist at Headquarters Air Reserve Personnel Center, poses for a photo outside of the building on July 23, 2020, at Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado. Lozada recently began his position and also contracted COVID-19 just before beginning his new job. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Leisa Grant/Released)

Justin Lozada, a financial management specialist at Headquarters Air Reserve Personnel Center, poses for a photo outside of the building on July 23, 2020, at Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado. Lozada recently began his position and also contracted COVID-19 just before beginning his new job. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Leisa Grant/Released)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --

As positive COVID-19 cases spiked across the country in April, Justin Lozada was looking forward to starting a new position as a financial management specialist at Headquarters Air Reserve Personnel Center, Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado.

When he arrived, he was met with chills, body aches, fever and headaches. Under any other circumstances Lozada would have attributed this to the normal flu, but at time the COVID-19 cases were increasing across the country and he did not want to risk spreading the virus to others without confirmation.

Three days after the symptoms began, he was tested for the COVID-19 virus with the results coming back three days later.

“Am I going to die?”

That was the first question Lozada asked the clinic over the phone when he heard the news because he learned he did, in fact, test positive. 

“I remember her telling me ‘no’ but I knew that she could not answer such a question with very much [assurance],” Lozada said.

After receiving confirmation from the off-base clinic on day six of his self-imposed quarantine, he was told to continue in quarantine, treat his symptoms, and if they get worse to seek additional medical care.

“The first few days were the hardest because I automatically assumed the worst,” he said. “Part of that was due to the uncertainty of how my body would react to the virus, but I made sure to monitor the fever and treat the symptoms I could identify.”

While recovering under quarantine, Lozada was able to rely on a support system that checked on him regularly, and dropped off food and supplies.

“The key to overcoming the virus for me was to check my pride and maintain a positive attitude,” he said. “I realized early on I could not make it through this alone and I hope that others who find themselves in the same situation I was in will not be too proud to ask for help.”

A few weeks after his diagnosis, Lozada now says he has fully recovered and emphasized the importance of maintaining a resilient state of mind throughout the process.  

“A positive diagnosis is scary, but maintaining a positive outlook is very important,” said Lozada. “Not just for you, but for your family and friends around you.”

Lozada is just one example of the many COVID-19 positive cases across the globe, but he also stands as an example of the importance of a good support system and a resilient mindset in combating adversity.

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Since tracking of the COVID-19 virus began in late March, the Air Force has reported over 7,800 positive cases, with over 49,000 cases across the Department of Defense. As spikes in cases are seen in states such as Florida and Texas, officials continue to stress social distancing and wearing of face coverings are the best way to limit the spread of the virus. (*Stats current as of August 18, 2020)