COVID-19 knocked him down, but this tough Alaskan hopes others can learn from his story
From there, things did not follow the plan for Finstad, head of the Reindeer Research Program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Soon after reaching his peak of fitness, he was alone in his bedroom, gasping for what he thought might be his last breath.
While in Washington state, then emerging as a hot spot for the virus that causes COVID-19, Finstad helped his mother get settled in an assisted-living facility. To relieve some stress and keep on with his training program, he mapped out a route and ran for 18 miles one day.
Back in Alaska, Finstad briefly visited his office in a UAF building that was almost empty during spring break. He felt fine, but his visit soon after led to that building being one of the first structures on campus closed to visitors.
Home from his journey to bury his father, move his mother to an unfamiliar place and give the keynote speech at a conference, Finstad and his family drove down to their cabin in the Alaska Range. His three granddaughters were off from school for their own spring break. Time at the cabin with them is a family tradition.
By chance, he had a medical thermometer at the cabin. He took his temperature and found he had a fever. He tried to stay as far away from his family as he could. They decided he needed to return home.
He credits the workers at the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services for calling him right away, interrogating him as ...
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