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Donna Parzych says she caught coronavirus after visiting a restaurant and two bars

A Milwaukie woman is reminding her neighbors that just because bars and restaurants are open doesn't mean the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

COURTESY PHOTO - Fifty-year-old Donna Parzych (left) warned other Milwaukie residents about the continued danger of COVID.Fifty-year-old Donna Parzych said when the sun started shining in early March, she and her husband felt like socializing, so they headed out of their house and visited two bars and a restaurant.

Soon after their outings, Parzych started to develop cold-like symptoms. She has a history of chronic bronchitis so when the symptoms worsened, she went to the hospital thinking it wasn't anything out of the ordinary.

She was surprised to discover she had COVID-19.

"I think what happened is we jumped the gun a little bit too fast," Parzych said. "We're definitely not out of the woods and I feel like I'm really big proof of that."

March 21 marked her 11th day with the illness and the first day when she finally felt like her symptoms were improving.

Parzych has had two heart surgeries in the past and said the COVID-19 recovery is almost worse than her recovery from surgery. She said she's extremely fatigued and has trouble breathing. Her doctor prescribed her medication and a breathing machine to help strengthen her lungs.

After suffering from the illness for days, Parzych posted on her Milwaukie neighborhood's Facebook group reminding people to still stay home if they can. She said she made the post hoping to save at least one person from the illness she's battling.

"Even though things are looking like this pandemic is at the end stages, it's still very much alive and I think continuing to practice how we all have been is probably the smartest move you can make right now," she said.

She said the restaurants and bars she visited were enforcing social distancing, mask wearing and other COVID-19 guidelines. Parzych notified the places she visited and learned that one of them had a known outbreak. The state was investigating it, she said.

Parzych said she and her husband have been extremely cautious during the pandemic, especially since Parzych knows she's at a high-risk after her heart surgeries. Now, they wish they would have waited just a little while longer before venturing out for dining.

"Stick with the curbside pickups for now. That would be my biggest advice," she said.

Parzych says she's grateful for all the support she's received so far from family and friends and is hopeful she'll beat the virus.

Clackamas County, where Parzych lives, is currently in a "moderate risk" level for reopening. Eating and drinking establishments are allowed to be open and can serve 50% of their indoor maximum occupancy. Outdoor capacity is limited to 150 people, according to state regulations.

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