Couldn’t smell or taste anything: Local officer talks about first sign he might have coronavirus

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NEW FRANKLIN, Ohio (WJW)- Officer Jason Tirbovich is back on the job having been given the all-clear by his doctors and public health officials after testing positive for COVID-19.

Tirbovich, who also serves as the community resource officer for Manchester schools, says it’s not entirely clear where he got the virus, but he noticed something unusual after helping his brother move in late March.

“At the time he would complain of having like a scratchy throat or sinuses and we really thought nothing of it.  Well then a couple of days afterwards, after we got done moving him, he called me and said, ‘just so you know,’ he says, ‘I feel really bad; I’m not sure what it is,'” said Tirbovich.

“I told my supervisors what was going on and I felt fine, didn’t have a temperature or anything and they said, ‘if you feel fine, that’s great,’ and I was eating dinner with my family and my wife, and said ‘I can’t smell or taste anything.’ She goes, ‘you can’t?’ I said, ‘no,’ and she said, ‘well, you know that’s a sign of having the coronavirus.'”

“I felt fine, you know; I didn’t feel sick or anything and at the time my brother, he was going downhill — feeling really, really sick so then the next day I came into work, didn’t have a temperature and a little more into my shift my captain came up to me and he said, just so you know he just got an email that first responders can get tested, why don’t you just get tested to make sure and I said okay.”

Officer Tirbovich said when the test results came back he learned he had tested positive for the virus.

“I was very fortunate I did not get that sick, you know; like I said, my worst was the loss of smell and taste.  I had like migraines and felt sluggish and tired but other than that I was not bad off; I was very fortunate,” said Tirbovich.

Although his experience with the virus was subtle he was advised that he and his family would all have to remain quarantined.

“Just because you don’t have these symptoms obviously you are a carrier and you could very well give it to anybody else; my wife and kids they didn’t show any symptoms but they said they very well are probably carriers so we all had to quarantine ourselves for fourteen days inside our house.”

Tirbovich, as with other police officers and first responders in every community, said his department has provided them with masks to wear to protect both themselves and the community at-large.

And even though his experience with the virus was subtle he believes it is worth taking seriously.
“Hopefully, down the road there is going to be a positive to this and it will get back to where we were, but I think right now it’s just going to take time and everybody’s got to be patient and, you know, and hopefully just be safe.”

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