‘Death Isn’t The Only Thing That Quantifies This’: Lowcountry Reporter Hospitalized With COVID-19

Her doctor told her that COVID had been like a “lightning strike” to her system.


Breathing through oxygen tubes in a Savannah, Georgia hospital, a 27-year-old journalist is using social media to share her battle with COVID-19 in hopes that people learn from her experience and take the virus seriously.

Lyndsey Gough, a Lowcountry reporter for WTOC, believes she contracted the virus on June 20. More than three weeks later, Gough said the end of her fight with the virus is “nowhere in site” as she remains hospitalized due to coronavirus complications.

“My surgeon told me essentially, coronavirus had been like a ‘lightning strike’ to my system,” she wrote on Facebook.

In a lengthy Facebook post, Gough shared the details of her entire battle from the last few weeks. In addition, she’s live Tweeting updates from the hospital.

About three days after she believes she contracted COVID-19, Lyndsey started experiencing symptoms including “body and muscle aches, chills, a cough, congestion, nausea, fatigue, headache, lack of appetite and eventually losing my sense of smell & taste.” She was a healthy 20-something before the virus hit, so she noticed the symptoms immediately.

“I also experienced waves of abdominal pain making it hard to get up or sit up/lay down,” she said on Facebook. “I nearly passed out taking my dog for a short walk.”

She was tested for COVID-19 on June 26, and got her results back on June 30 — positive.

After a few days of starting to feel better, her symptoms worsened again.

“(On) July 7, the abdominal pain came back- with a vengeance. Despite drinking lots fluids, rest, hot baths, & eating what I could, nothing provided relief,” she wrote. “It was hard to move at all.”

Two days later, she was in the E.R at St. Joseph’s/Candler in Savannah getting lab work and a CAT scan. She tested positive (again) for COVID-19, and they discovered she had appendicitis. The doctor described it as COVID being like a “lightning strike” to her body.

At this point, she had COVID-19 for more than 14 days.

She was off to surgery before midnight on July 9. Her appendix, larger than a baseball, and part of her colon were taken out.

The 27-year-old was entirely alone through all of this, due to COVID-19 restrictions allowing no visitors. She describes how “surreal” it is having surgery in a pandemic.

“My surgeon told me if I wasn’t healthy, and this pain wasn’t so bad he wouldn’t operate on a COVID patient if he didn’t have to,” Gough wrote. “My mask had to come off in the Operating Room for oxygen & tubes, so they put my head in a clear box, sort of like what you may see a preemie baby in. An angel nurse stroked my hair like my mom does until I went to sleep.”

More than a week after her surgery, Gough is still on oxygen tubes in the hospital as her body works on increasing her blood sugar, blood pressure, and oxygen levels. She told FITSNews she can breathe without the tubes technically, but her doctors want to get her oxygen levels up before taking them out.

She said she is making progress, but has “no clear end in sight.”

Gough wrote that she is sharing her story for the sake of transparency — in hopes that more people take the virus seriously.

“COVID does NOT just affect the elderly,” Gough wrote on Facebook. “I’ve been sick every day since I turned 27…Death isn’t the only thing that quantifies this.”

Gough, a weekend sports anchor and multi-media journalist at WTOC, which covers both Savannah, Georgia and South Carolina’s Lowcountry, said she hopes to get back to reporting soon.

Her Facebook post has been shared more than 2,200 times.

Like most of the south, Savannah has seen surging COVID-19 cases this summer. Savannah Mayor Van Johnson said a shutdown is possible if trends continue, WJCL reported.

“In May, we had 266 confirmed cases for the entire month of May,” Johnson said, according to WJCL. “In June, we had 809 cases. To this date in July, we’ve had more than one thousand new cases.”

As more and more young adults across the U.S. test positive for COVID-19, a new University of California San Francisco study has confirmed that one in three young adults may face severe COVID-19 symptoms.

South Carolina has reported skyrocketing coronavirus cases since the third week of June, when it began seeing more than 1,000 cases per day — a big jump from May when it just saw an average of 189 cases per day.

South Carolina’s COVID-19 hospitalizations have also increased dramatically in the last three weeks. On June 22, 731 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized in SC. On Tuesday, the state reported that 1,550 coronavirus patients were hospitalized and 203 of those patients were on ventilators.



Mandy Matney is the news director at FITSNews. She’s an investigative journalist from Kansas who has worked for newspapers in Missouri, Illinois, and South Carolina before making the switch to FITS. She currently lives on Hilton Head Island where she enjoys beach life. Mandy also hosts the Murdaugh Murders podcast. Want to contact Mandy? Send your tips to



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