‘After all this is said and done, we are going to be a stronger family’
It’s been more than a month since Eli Clancy was born and the newborn baby has yet to meet extended family, be held for group photos or simply be cared for normally by his parents.
Eli, born March 23 to North Royalton couple Dawn and Sean Clancy, tested positive for COVID-19 just 12 days after his birth. His father Sean tested positive as well. Dawn has not contracted the virus. As of April 15, and follow-up tests, Sean is still testing positive.
“Our plan has been to stay home and isolate and quarantine,” Dawn said through email. “My husband and son have stayed pretty isolated since we found out my son was positive with the virus. My husband was finally able to take care of his son and see him since they both have the same virus.”
Routine care of their infant son is now done wearing face masks and gloves coupled with near-constant household cleaning and hand washing. Though everyone is doing “rather well physically,” there is mental and emotional struggle, Dawn said.
“The Clinic has been calling me daily checking on Eli and Sean and checking on their symptoms and temperatures,” Dawn reported April 15. “Sean has gone back to get retested two times already and has tested positive still. His most recent one was this past Tuesday. We are hoping to get him in early next week, and we are hoping for a negative.”
The North Royalton family is not completely sure how they contracted the virus but believe it may have occurred during a visit with Sean’s stepdaughter Ella, whose dad works as a paramedic and had later tested positive along with his work partner. Neither Ella or her father had shown any symptoms at the time and could have very well unknowingly been silent carriers, Dawn said. Dawn works as a cardiac monitor technician and her husband Sean is a medical assistant at an out-patient office. Sean’s symptoms included a low-grade fever, sinus drainage and a minute cough. Newborn Eli was extremely lethargic, breathing irregularly and wouldn’t wake up, Dawn said.
“I called 911, we went to the hospital, and they found a small pneumothorax in his lung (collapsed lung) and transferred him down to Cleveland Clinic main campus where we stayed overnight for observation,” Dawn said. “After two clear chest x-rays they sent us home. The pulmonologist said he looks beautiful and it was a freak thing that happened with his lung, but they want to keep an eye on him in case it happens again. While we were at the hospital, they tested him for the virus, and my 12-day-old was in fact positive for this unbelievably scary virus.”
The Clancys are in monitoring mode.
“We have been more on high alert with watching Eli and making sure he’s not showing any signs of distress or discomfort, since he’s such a little baby there’s no way of him communicating it with us,” Dawn said. “He overall is a normal, happy baby who eats, sleeps and gets fussy from time to time. We just have to monitor his temperature and make sure his breathing is ok. I feel like any odd noise he makes I am panicking, but he’s been totally fine.”
The North Royalton mom has a message for others – take COVID-19 seriously.
“People need to listen to what the rest of the world is saying and stay home, socially distance from each other and do not visit people who don’t live with you. It’s been hard not seeing any of our family and not having any of them meeting our son, but it is the right thing to do,” she said. “It can happen to anyone, age is not a factor, and it can happen to even the healthiest of people. After all this is said and done, we are going to be a stronger family, and this definitely has changed our lives overall. But we are so lucky that Sean and Eli are doing as well as they are and keep on pushing through. We cannot wait to finally be able to have a family photo taken of us and for us to all start bonding together.”

Ed. Note:  On Tuesday, April 21, Sean finally cleared the virus and the baby Eli is all clear as well.  The family took their first family photo together on Tuesday.

Contributing Writer