Firefighter diagnosed with COVID-19 urging Minnesotans to heed warning

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A firefighter in southern Minnesota is among those who have tested positive for COVID-19.

Jacob Prondzinksi has been a volunteer firefighter at Kenyon Fire Department in Goodhue County for six years.

He is now urging the public to take coronavirus seriously and comply with the state’s orders to stay home.

“If you get it, you’re going to understand," Prondzinski said. "This is not fun."

He said he first started feeling sick last week.

“It was Tuesday of last week, I just, I didn’t feel myself,” Prondzinski said.

His symptoms have included a sore throat, nausea, muscle aches and extreme exhaustion. He said he never had much of a fever. He wants people to realize, even if you don’t have a fever, you may be contagious.

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“The part that definitely shocked us: I’ve known nobody with COVID," he said. "So for me to get COVID, it’s kind of mind-blowing,” 

He said he is trying to isolate in his bedroom protect his young kids from getting sick.

“It’s tough, especially when you’ve got a little two-year-old girl that wants to hang out on daddy the whole time,” he said.

Prondzinski said he has received great support and encouragement from his fellow firefighters and tight-knit town, with people dropping off groceries and gifts.

He said he is eager to get better so he can get back to serving his community in the midst of this pandemic.

"I guess I can be the first one to have it and be the first one over it,” Prondzinski said. “And then I can sit back and help others when they have it."