Nevada’s COVID response director has coronavirus: ‘This virus is real’
Doctor holding vaccine. (AFP)

Nevada's COVID-19 response director, Caleb Cage, confirmed Friday that he has personally been affected by the deadly virus - because he now has it himself.

Cage has been on the front-line of the pandemic in his state since March 2020. In his role, Cage has coordinated the state’s response to the ongoing pandemic, including serving as chair for the COVID-19 Mitigation and Management Task Force and communication with other entities involved in public health.

Cage spoke with The Nevada Independent on Friday about his diagnosis and what happens when the person in charge gets sick.

“Of course, I work on kind of the front lines of this, if you will, at least from a policy side and I was thinking how frustrating — might be a word— it would be if I had introduced this and gotten other people sick, if I had gotten the governor sick, if I got the chief of staff sick, people who are making decisions that affect the whole state on a daily basis. Those thoughts went through my mind... This is a highly communicable virus that can spread very easily, and even if you are doing everything that you possibly can to prevent it and to make sure people around you are preventing it, you can still become infected with it.”

In an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, Cage communicated with his close - and distant - contacts upon learning of his diagnosis.

“There are people who we care about greatly who we have some limited contact with and calling people that you care about and saying, ‘Hey, I, at the very least, am disrupting your life with having to go get a test and the same uncertainty that I'm feeling about all of this, and at worst I'm worse I'm introducing a virus during a pandemic to you,’ that was challenging,” Cage said. “But you got to pull the Band-Aid. I mean, it's not going to do anybody any more favors to not know.”

Cage said it was "challenging" to recall every entity he had been in contact with before the positive result, but that the process seemed to go "smoothly" after that hurdle.

While Cage is on the mend from his COVID-19 experience, he did offer caution.

“We have a system in place and a good approach to this here,” Cage said, “and the more we can get people to take it seriously, I think the quicker we will be able to put all of this behind us.”