MAGIC VALLEY — A study released last week showed more than 20% of the adult population in Blaine County has antibodies to COVID-19; the highest percentage per capita in the nation. Two Blaine County residents who contracted the virus say they the recovery process has not been easy.
"It's been an interesting journey. It's not one of those things where you go through the covid experience and wake up one day, and it's like ok BAM it's over it's done," Ashley Houston, a Blaine County resident, said.
Houston says although she is no longer COVID-19 positive, she still has to take immune boosters and other medication to recover fully. She says the hardest part of the whole ordeal was having to stay away from her children.
"I'm just slowly but surely trying to adjust to this new way of life, while I'm at least working through this," Houston said.
Jennifer Liethum contracted COVID-19 back in early March after working at a wedding in Sun Valley. She says throughout her battle with the virus, her goal was to donate plasma to help other people, but things didn't go as planned.
"Oh, that was my dream when I was in my room for 30 days that there would be this hopeful release of this terrible thing, and I would go help give plasma," Liethum said.
Liethum was in the process of donating plasma, but because of a steroid treatment she took ten years ago, her veins at her elbows are collapsed, which meant they weren't able to get enough blood out.
"It was a bummer, underneath my mask I was crying because I was trying to make sense of this crazy stuff, but I learned a lot about it so I can tell people a little bit more, so I encourage people to seek it out," Liethum said.
Houston and Liebrum are not alone in this ordeal. Blaine County was once Idaho's hotspot for COVID-19, with a majority of the cases coming from people aged 18-39, a different population considering the virus mainly targets seniors.
They say moving forward, they hope people take wearing their mask more serious.