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Flint doctor shares COVID-19 health scare, calls for more testing

Dr. Ahmed Arif was hospitalized 10 days into his COVID-19 diagnosis.
Dr. Ahmed Arif was hospitalized 10 days into his COVID-19 diagnosis.(ABC12)
Published: Oct. 27, 2020 at 5:49 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - After taking care of people over the course of the pandemic, a Flint doctor became a patient himself when he contracted COVID-19.

Dr. Ahmed Arif works in one of the larger practices in Flint where 90 to 100 patients may be seen each day between four providers.

Many of the patients he’s treated in the office, at local hospitals and via telemedicine, have been touched by the coronavirus in some way.

When Arif first started showing symptoms of a fever and cough he continued to work from home, but around the 10th day things took a turn in the wrong direction.

“I was not in need of a ventilator, but I did have low oxygen levels, I had bi-lateral pneumonia,” Arif said. “It was quite a bit of an experience. First time in my life I was hospitalized. I was a patient and doctors were seeing me. In the last 35 years I have just been seeing patients.”

The seriousness of his experience with the coronavirus is why the fairly healthy 63-year-old is speaking up about it.

“I’m very lucky. I’m very blessed. I came home on the 5th day," he said. “It is a risky job but we physicians and health care workers have dedicated our life for this. We are always taking care of patients.”

His concern for other health care workers and the general public is why he’s calling for more testing to be done. The latest data shows about 5 million tests have been conducted statewide.

“What we need is more testing, more testing and more testing so that you know who all is positive so that those patients who are positive can be isolated. If you don’t know - then they are spreading,” Arif said.

On Tuesday Genesee County saw record cases and the need for more hospitalizations.

“Healthy patients who are exposed are spreading the virus more than anyone else," he said.

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