LEROY, Ill. (WCIA) — A Mclean County girl is warning people about how serious COVID-19 is. Sarah Welander tested positive for the flu about a month ago, but negative for COVID-19. She was the first to test positive for the flu in her county this flu season. Her symptoms were fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Her mother says she may have had a sore throat for a day, but she never had any respiratory symptoms.

Those symptoms kept getting worse. She later tested positive for COVID-19. The 20-year-old also has stroke symptoms, like trouble with memory and a newly-developed stutter. She was perfectly healthy before this.

“I guess I want young people to take it more seriously, especially with like Halloween coming up and them wanting to hang out in large groups… just to know the risk,” explained Welander.

Welander is still waiting to see if she had a stroke. She has had an MRI and a CT scan, but nothing abnormal was found. She plans to make a neurology appointment and work with a therapist when she’s done isolating.

Kurt Bloomstrand, OSF’s EMS medical director and the emergency room physician at OSF Heart of Mary, said they have noticed a correlation between COVID-19 and strokes. What stands out to them is that there are reports of this happening in younger people (30s, 40s, 50s,). Typically, strokes affect the older population (usually over the age of 65).

“I think most people are more familiar with the complications that COVID-19 can cause on the lungs but we are seeing evidence of COVID-19 affecting many other vital organs including the heart, kidneys, brain, gastrointestinal system, etc.,” Bloomstrand explained.

Welander’s mother says they’ve been cautious by staying home mostly and always wearing masks in public. They don’t know where she would have picked up COVID-19.