Local Musician Shares Coronavirus Diagnosis, Experience

Bit Maps' Drew Andrews, who also bartends at the Whistle Stop, posted about his coronavirus experience on Facebook over the weekend.

Drew Andrews
Bil Zelman

We've all undoubtedly been watching the news and have seen celebrities, athletes and world leaders announce their positive results after having been tested for Covid-19, but when someone we actually know and love announces they've tested positive, the situation becomes much more real.

And so it was when San Diego musician Drew Andrews (Bit Maps, Via Satellite, Album Leaf), who knows just about everybody in town from his stints behind the bar at the Whistle Stop, announced on Saturday that he had tested positive for Covid-19.

Bit Maps' Drew Andrews, who also bartends at the Whistle Stop, talked with NBC 7's Artie Ojeda about Andrews' coronavirus experiences and advice for his fellow San Diegans.

“I had test results come back positive for Covid-19 today; I’ve contracted the coronavirus,” Andrews posted on his Facebook. “For all of you who’ve been doubting this whole thing: Time’s up. Now you know somebody personally who is positive.”

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On Sunday, Andrews wrote a detailed Facebook post about his experience, from symptoms to diagnosis to his current quarantine, urging friends to share his post far and wide. He granted permission for SoundDiego to share.

“I’d like to let people be aware that it can happen to anyone/anywhere, and we all should be vigilant in this,” Andrews said via Facebook Messenger.

Andrews said that his first symptoms exhibited were on March 22, when out of the blue, he lost his sense of taste and smell.

“It wasn’t subtle,” Andrews posted.

The next day, Andrews got a fever, which has persisted -- “Well, I still have it now,” he messaged on Sunday -- and is now experiencing the cough so commonly associated with virus.

Andrews said that he called a doctor early last week, who told him his symptoms were consistent with the illness but that did no yet qualify for a test. The physician told Andrews to take Tylenol, rest and stay hydrated. The next morning, Andrews got a callback from the doctor to demo the start of a new appointment-based drive-thru in-car swab-test program at Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa.

"I guess I was Patient No. 1 at Grossmont Hospital’s ‘unveiling’ of their new ‘drive-thru clinic’,” Andrews posted on Facebook. "I wish I could say that this clinic process wasn’t terrifying.”

Staying inside his car in the parking lot with a face mask, an identifying laminated placard was place on his rear window, Andrews waited.

"I was waiting in my car, looking forward, with a mask on my face, waiting to have a swab the [length] of half a guitar string threaded downward in my nasal passage until it reached my tonsils -- in the parking structure, of the hospital, that I was BORN IN,” Andrews posted.

The experience took an emotional toll: “I actually lost it in my car. Had to fight back the tears before the nurses came. It was too much for me, actually. It seemed a stunningly unreal sequence of events.... It could have been anywhere that I acquired this, and I mean that. I certainly cast no animosity, no ill-will, no blame on however/wherever I got it, other than potentially my own lapses in being safer, even though I knew I did make all the efforts that I could, when I could.”

Andrews stressed that the Whistle Stop in South Park was one of the first to close when requested to do so by California Gov. Gavin Newsom, and he and his colleagues at the bar took the warnings very seriously and adhered to all the guidelines.

Andrews added that staying home is the only sure way to fight the spread of the virus.

“Believe science … be alone … create … read … stay inside,” he posted, adding that he is monitoring his condition closely: “I’m OK and trying to keep not worked up, but I do get tired out of the blue.... It’s hard to express how much the support has meant.... We’re doing this together, even while apart.”

Andrews' post can be read and shared publicly here.

Pitching in During the Pandemic: Stories of San Diegans Doing Good: Read more stories about San Diegans finding creative ways to lend support. Have you heard about a story we should share? Let us know

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