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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Twin Cities father and daughter are fighting COVID-19 together.

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For years, Pat Bettendorf’s therapy dogs brightened the lives of hospice patients and MSP Airport passengers. But his work went away six months ago when the virus stopped his visits.

“You hear mostly about the people who get really sick,” Pat said. “And you don’t know it’s the unknown.”

At 71 and considered high risk, Bettendorf took many precautions, worried what a COVID diagnosis could mean. This last week, he’s found out.

“The next day I felt really crappy. Low-grade fever, terrible headache,” he said.

The call came from an asymptotic person his family had contact with at a socially-distanced bowling event where he went to watch his daughter.

“With that I set up an appointment the very next day to get the test, and then within 24 hours I had it back and it said positive,” Pat said. “You worry about your family. Who’s gonna get it next?”

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In their case, that was Sadie, a 14-year-old freshman at Stillwater High School.

“Kind of just had like cold symptoms, like runny nose,” Sadie said. “In the mornings I had a sore throat and stuff. Lots of sneezing.”

Sadie’s been most worried about her dad, keeping a close eye on his symptoms. He lost his taste and smell, and sleeps 14 hours a day. A pulse oximeter tracks his blood-oxygen levels.

But by now, Pat thinks he’s been through the worst of it.

“Finally started turning a corner, lost the fever,” he said.

They wish more people would be public with their own stories, believing it may help to reduce the stigma, and remind most people they will be alright.

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Liz Collin