Staff member's daughter recovers from COVID-19

family of four at table in a restaurant
Tim Marroquin is pictured with his family in a photo from last year. Clockwise from top left are Enzo, Cynthia, Tim and Mia.
Image Credit: courtesy photo

University staff member Tim Marroquin and his family are now healthy and safe at their home in Holland. The same couldn't have been said less than a month ago.

Mia Marroquin, Tim's daughter, has fully recovered from severe COVID-19 symptoms likely contracted during a trip to Spain in early March. Following Mia's recovery, the rest of the family had to self-quarantine themselves for two weeks.

Marroquin, who serves as director of Grand Valley's Veterans Upward Bound program, said the month of March was an emotional roller coaster for his family, but he is grateful everyone is healthy.

"For 14 days after Mia's recovery, we had to monitor our temperatures and stay inside, but now we are all past that," he said.

Mia is a junior at Saint Mary's College in South Bend, Indiana. She traveled to Spain to visit a friend who was there for a study abroad program; Mia also studied in Spain a year ago.

Mia said when she arrived in Barcelona, there were a few hundred cases of COVID-19 in Spain. That changed quickly, as Mia wrote in a column for her student newspaper, The Observer: "As the week progressed, I watched the number of cases grow exponentially and the travel advisory for Spain change from a Level 0 to a Level 3 overnight."

Tim said Mia cut her trip short and flew to Chicago then traveled to her Holland home, where she planned to quarantine herself for two weeks. During that time, health officials urged people who traveled abroad to get tested for coronavirus. Mia drove to a drive-through testing center in Grand Rapids; six days later she was told her test was positive.

"At first she thought her symptoms were jet-lag and simple fatigue," Tim said. "Her symptoms progressed quickly after that." Mia said she had a fever, muscle aches and difficulty breathing. She did not have to be treated at a hospital.

Tim said Mia was mostly quarantined in her bedroom. He and his wife would leave meals, a thermometer and other supplies at her doorstep.

"It was such a stressor to the rest of us," he said. "We kept thinking, 'When do we get it?'"

Tim, his wife and son kept track of their body temperatures, and were advised to quarantine themselves. He said he is very grateful to neighbors for bringing groceries and supplies and colleagues in the Division of Inclusion and Equity for offering support.

Mia turned her illness into a positive, alerting other 20-somethings that they, too, might get coronavirus. Along with the newspaper column, she was interviewed by local and national media outlets.

"I'm really pleased that she used this as a platform to warn others her age," Tim said.