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‘I thought I was going to die': Karaoke DJ contracts COVID-19 from Republic superspreader event

Natalee Medina's personal battle with COVID-19 has changed her outlook on the virus and mask-wearing, she said in a video posted on Facebook.

FERRY COUNTY, Wash. — A woman is encouraging Ferry County residents to take COVID-19 precautions after she contracted the virus following a three-day-long superspreader event in the small town of Republic

Natalee Medina, who has lived in Ferry County for 21 years and worked as a karaoke DJ at the recruiting event for the Fraternal Order of Eagles in April, posted a video on her Facebook page sharing her experience. It has received dozens of comments, and more than 100 likes and shares since May 4. 

According to leaders with the Northeast Tri-County Health District (NETCHD), 116 people have tested positive for COVID-19, at least two have died and nearly one dozen more are in critical condition since the event took place during the weekend of April 9-11.

“We’re sick of hearing about COVID but that’s because we’ve been hearing about for a year-and-a-half and haven’t really been touched by it until now," Medina said in her video.

Medina said she spent one week with her heart rate at 49 beats per minute while she was sick with COVID-19. A normal resting heart rate for adults ranges from 60 to 100 beats per minute, according to the Mayo Clinic. 

“Three weeks ago, I thought I was going to die. I had…major surgery and got tested because of being exposed to COVID and I had COVID," Medina said in the video. 

Watch Medina's full video below or tap here:

Medina said she took safety precautions during the event, such as using a rag with bleach to wipe down the microphones, but she and others still got sick. She told KREM's Whitney Ward, though, that she doesn't want people to misunderstand what happened in Republic. The Eagles are a wonderful group that does a lot for the community and everyone simply let their guard down, she said. 

"I feel bad, and if I could go back and change it, I would. Because people that were there three to four weeks ago, when we had the event, are no longer here today. That makes me really sad," Medina said in the video.

Medina's personal battle with COVID-19 has also changed her outlook on the virus and mask-wearing, she said in the video. 

"I used to say, 'I have rights. I can go without wearing a mask,' not because I wanted people to die but because there was no COVID around here for so long that it felt ridiculous," Medina said. 

"It's not about politics, guys. It's legit. Our neighbors, and our family and our friends are getting super sick and some of them are dying," she added. 

Medina is now encouraging everyone in her community to get their COVID-19 vaccine if they are able, wear a mask and practice social distancing. 

Everyone ages 16 and older is eligible to receive the vaccine in Washington state. Those looking to schedule an appointment can call the NETCHD COVID-19 Call Center at 509-684-2262, opt. 4 or visit www.netchd.org to schedule online.