ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. (KMOV.com) – A St. Charles County student and athlete is fighting for his life in hospital after contracting COVID-19.
On August 28, Elijah Johnson rushed onto the Fort Zumwalt East field, scoring a touchdown in his first game of the season in high school. It was the first and last game he will play all season because of COVID-19.
“I never thought I would see my boy, the football player, a healthy kid go from knocking people down on the pitch to lying in the hospital struggling. It’s hard for me, ”said Cynthia Johnson.
Now Cynthia Johnson, the mother of champion lineman Elijah who runs to the bedside as he battles COVID-19.
On September 1, Elijah tested positive for COIVD-19. After several trips to St. Peters hospitals, he was airlifted to St. Louis Children’s Sunday where he is now in intensive care using a BiPAP machine to help him breathe.
“Without it, he cannot maintain his own air. [He’s] very lethargic. Her fever has been everywhere, ”she said. “Plus, with him lying down for days, he also acquired blood clots in both legs. He has pneumonia in addition to COVID. So it’s hard.”
News 4 asked Cynthia if she thought her son contracted COVID-19 at the start of the school year.
“I do, I do it. I hate to say it, but it’s the truth, I do it,” Cynthia said.
Cynthia says her son being 18, he made his own decision not to get the vaccine. This is something she now wishes she had pushed him to do earlier.
“He told me he wanted to get the shot, then he caught COVID,” Cynthia said. “And it hit him quickly.”
Cynthia says Elijah had ambitions to play college football, but it’s a goal now more uncertain than ever as they wait to see when he can be released from hospital and what long-term effects he could suffer.
“We want to focus on improving it. Nothing else is more important than that right now,” she said.
The Fort Zumwalt School District told News 4 that it does not comment on a student’s health condition, but has provided information on how contact tracing works in situations where students were positive.
The contact tracing process includes a student’s classmates, other bus drivers, and / or teammates. Unless an exposed student encounters one of the exceptions to full quarantine, that student is expected to quarantine themselves for the entire period, unless a negative COVID test is produced after the specified time frame.
Currently, the district does not require masks to be worn on all campuses, but it has recently made some adjustments for campuses with higher caseloads.
If a Fort Zumwalt school district has more than 4% of its student population tested positive for Covid, masks will be required for all students and staff at that school for a specified period of time. Currently, Westhoff Elementary requires masks until at least September 23.
Cynthia says it’s frustrating to see school districts like Fort Zumwalt not apply masks universally.
“We are not in a safe place in this country. In our county, in the period of the county of St. Charles. We are not safe, we are not out of the woods. So everyone really relaxed and it’s sad, ”she said.
She urges parents to talk to their children about getting vaccinated and wearing their masks so others don’t end up fighting like her son.
“These kids need to know that just because you’re young and healthy, it can happen to you too,” she said. “I have been vaccinated. I have a whole house that I have to consider, my mother my children, my grandchildren. So, I would like other people to see it in this aspect and think of others and not only to themselves. “
To date, 47 students are in full quarantine at East High, and 416 are in total quarantine across the district. Westhoff Elementary School currently has the highest number of students in quarantine, 50, and with 45 confirmed positive COVID-19 cases since the start of the year.
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