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Hotel owner recounts his case of COVID-19

Peter Holderied, village trustee and owner of the Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort, is pictured in the lobby of his family’s hotel in Lake Placid on Wednesday, March 10. (News photo — Elizabeth Izzo)

LAKE PLACID — Still, to this day, he doesn’t know where he got it from. COVID-19, that is.

Village Trustee and Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort owner Peter Holderied was feeling fine in the days before the Presidents Day holiday weekend. He worked, had meals with his family. It was business as usual. Then, on Thursday, Feb. 11, Holderied’s wife got a fever.

Though she had no reason to believe she’d been exposed to the coronavirus, she got rapid COVID-19 tests just in case. The result came back positive.

“I thought, shoot, I better get tested,” Holderied said. His result was also positive. “I told all my family, ‘You’re going to have to quarantine,’ because we had lunch together every day.”

Holderied was confused by the result.

“I said, ‘I can’t believe it.’ Nobody here had it. None of my family — the only people I’m ever close with — had it. So I’m like, ‘Where the heck did I get this?’ It’s a strange thing.”

Cases like Holderied’s are what public health departments call “community spread,” meaning a positive case where the source of that person’s exposure is unknown.

After the couple tested positive, their family and close contacts were asked to quarantine. The Holderieds don’t just own the Golden Arrow hotel, they operate it. Having to quarantine meant multiple people weren’t able to work at the hotel over one of the busiest weekends of the season.

“Really bad timing on my part,” Holderied said.

He never had any symptoms. His wife’s symptoms, on the other hand, ran the gamut: vertigo, loss of taste and smell, a slight fever, fatigue and gastrointestinal issues.

The rest of his family ultimately tested negative, and his wife has mostly recovered.

While in isolation, Holderied said he did a lot of reading. He did some research on the coronavirus, and he was also able to do some cross-country skiing.

“I got bored, watched too much news,” he said.

Nearly one year ago, when entire industries were ordered closed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s New York on PAUSE order, Holderied said the thought of the pandemic was scary.

“Nobody knew anything for sure, really, about the virus and how it spreads,” he said.

Asked if contracting COVID-19 changed his perspective of the pandemic as a whole, Holderied said he thinks, “The media has overdone it. Big time.” Holderied pointed to the number of people who died last year in the United States — about 3.2 million, according to preliminary figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — compared to the number of Americans who died from COVID-19 last year — more than 300,000.

“Yes, those are tragic,” he said. “But for the other people that died, that’s also tragic. It wasn’t all about COVID. Yeah, we had to do masks, we had to do social distancing and we had to protect ourselves; otherwise, this would’ve been far, far worse. But in reality, it wasn’t as tragic as the media points out. We’re all going to die. Nobody’s going to get out of this.”

Holderied is one of many Olympic Region residents who have either had COVID-19, or had their lives impacted by COVID-19, since the first case was discovered in this area. Those interested in sharing their experience with COVID-19 can contact the Lake Placid News at news@lakeplacidnews.com.