An officer with the Austin Police Department has returned to duty after suffering from infection of the COVID-19 virus.

According to KXAN-TV, the officer returned to duty Friday, according to a news release from APD, after he recovered from the disease caused by the coronavirus.

The officer spoke with reporters about his personal experience with the virus at a "drive-thru barbecue lunch" provided to officers by the Austin Police Association and Cops for Charities, the group’s charitable arm that supports officers.

Officer Ross Pranter, a patrol officer in central east Austin, believes he caught the novel coronavirus from someone he interacted with while on duty. This was before the department mandated that masks be worn at all times, only when in contact with someone who was symptomatic.

He wanted to illustrate the symptoms of COVID-19 can vary widely, and he never experienced a cough or significant fever, two of the disease’s primary warning signs.

“[My symptoms] were very different than what’s being advertised,” he said. “I woke up without taste or smell, which was my first symptom. At the time I believed it was allergies or sinuses, because it has happened to me before.”

But when he mentioned it to his wife, she recognized he could be experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and his supervisor sent him home. Sure enough, he tested positive. He struggled with nausea, restlessness, and fatigue. He was quarantined at home, the symptoms coming in waves every few days, subsiding in between.

Three weeks after he was sent home, Prantner returned to duty to start training new officers again.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re a person of faith or not,” said Austin Police Association president Ken Casaday, “it’s just a blessing.”

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