By Contributing Writer, Donna Michele Ramos

COVID-19 is still among us with no thought of leaving.  Families are split up, businesses have to close down again and having a social life is a thing of the past.  These are minor inconveniences compared to contracting and fighting this deadly virus.  

In mid July Atiya Hempstead, Co-Owner of Touch of Class located in Sacramento, California, shared an in-depth look of what it is like to deal with this virus on a daily basis.

THE HUB: How are you feeling?  Are you still self-quarantining?

HEMPSTEAD: Yesterday I started to feel a little better, I went for a walk.  I’ve been in the house 16 days.  Friday, June 26 we had a funeral fundraiser and Saturday, June 27 we got a rumor that someone at a nearby bar tested positive with COVID-19.  The person didn’t come into our bar, Touch of Class but we share some of the same customers.  Sunday we stopped indoor dining. We had already deep cleaned like usual and we cancelled a party.  We had patio dining for our regular customers.  Monday morning I woke up with a slight headache. I told my brother I wasn’t coming into work.  I went to CVS and took the test for the virus.  It was an easy process. I made the appointment online, filled out the questionnaire and went through the drive thru.  They give you a kit through the window, explained how to use the Q-tip and to drop it in a drop box when you’re finished.  But results take 8-9 days.  Thursday morning my cough was worse and I was super fatigued.  Friday I couldn’t take a deep breath without tightness in my chest.  I felt like I had a slight fever.  I told my sister, she’s a nurse and she said I should go to Emergency.  Methodist Hospital has tents outside and they swab your nose.  I had the test on 7/5/20 but the results were 48 hours later on 7/7/20.  That day they told me it looks like fluid on my lungs.  I had trouble breathing, so they gave me a breathing treatment, an Albuterol inhaler, and 4 days of antibiotics.  They said it looked like I had a touch of bronchitis too.  Someone told me to drink elderberry syrup and tonic water.  I didn’t know I’d lost my sense of smell and taste for over a week before I did. I had onions all around the house and didn’t smell them and the concoction of elderberry syrup and tonic water didn’t taste bad like it should have.  I went back to Methodist Hospital on Friday, even though I felt I was getting better.  My sister checked my oxygen level, it was fluctuating between 89% and 91%.  It should be between 90% and 100%.  I went back to Emergency where they did an EKG on me.  My sister the nurse, was on the phone and she told them to check my lactate levels and ABG panel.  All of that came back fine but my oxygen level was dropping. 

THE HUB: Did you have to take medication? What type?

HEMPSTEAD: The first time they prescribed Albuterol, Prednisone, and the antibiotic Azithromycin.  The second time, they prescribed a steroid that helps the lungs with inflammation.

THE HUB: How has COVID-19 affected you and your family?

HEMPSTEAD: I am still quarantining. My daughter and granddaughter are still out of the house.  I am thankful my daughter and granddaughter had other family to stay with. It is hard financially. My brother just got the bar in January.   I was bartending at Touch of Class for over 12 years and my brother managed it for 12 years. It’s rough being a new business owner and having to shut down.  The timing of this is horrible.  I was so disappointed to find out people came out that Friday night knowing they didn’t feel good.

THE HUB: What advice would you give others?

HEMPSTEAD: If you don’t feel well stay in the house; wash and sanitize your hands and wear a mask if you have to go out in public.  The ER doctor said once you have no symptoms for 3 days, you can go around people.  I had a video appointment with the doctor and he said to follow up with him in 1 ½ weeks.

THE HUB: Running a business with all the new and changing regulations, what has your brother done to comply?  When do you think you will be able to open again?

HEMPSTEAD: We were deep cleaning etc. per state regulations.  But we do not have a date as of now, due to the new shut down.

Atiya Hempstead encourages everyone to stay safe and take COVID-19 seriously.  As of Aug 8 (Day 40 since her diagnosis), CLICK HERE as Atiya Hempstead shares with us currently on Facebook how she has been doing.


 Contributing Writer, Donna Michele Ramos 

Donna Michele Ramos

Donna Ramos writes several (contemporary and historical) multi-cultural, romance novels simultaneously.  Her journalism career as a Senior Staff Writer/Reporter for THE HUB Magazine has yielded interviews with Maxwell, Venus and Serena Williams and HRH Sarah Ferguson Duchess of York, to name a few.  As a self-published author, Ramos received acclaim from Essence Magazine and by being on their best seller lists for her contemporary romance debut book “HIGH RISE”.  Currently she is writing, “M&M: MADNESS AND MAYHEM”, the final book in her “HIGH RISE” Trilogy, and “CHOCOLATE IN THE CITY”.  Donna partnered with another author, Brooklen Borne to write a 4-book sci-fi thriller series, “Absorption.” Last year she was named “Author of the Year” by Write-On! Awards for Literary Excellence.  She states her next project is to “teach myself how to screen write so I can turn my novels into screenplays and submit them to studios and agents searching for fresh new scripts.” Connect with Donna at:

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