After recovering from COVID-19, Roaring Fork Valley woman aims to help other patients

Margot Moselle stands in her yard with her dog Rollo in Blue Lake on Friday, April 24, 2020. Margot tested positive for COVID-19 and then retested negative two weeks later. After overcoming the illness, she is now hoping to donate plasma to help others with the disease. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)
Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times

Midvalley resident Margot Moselle wasted little time trying to turn her bout of COVID-19 from a negative to a positive this month.

Upon full recovery, Moselle, 40, applied to donate plasma to help others who are sick. People who recover from the disease may have immune-boosting antibodies in their plasma that could be used to treat critically ill COVID-19 patients, according to health experts. The plasma is separated from the blood and provided for the treatment of others with the same blood type.

Moselle saw a news segment about convalescent plasma helping the recovery of a critically ill man who had been in a coma for five days. The recipient and his family got to meet the donor and thank him for the contribution. It inspired Moselle to apply to a Colorado company called Vitalant to donate. She’s waiting for an appointment.

Now that she’s had the virus, she wants to be of service for those ill or most prone.

“I feel like I can shop for people and give plasma for those who are sick,” she said.

Moselle is a workout warrior who pursues fitness as a way of life rather than a fad. But she has an autoimmune deficiency that made her wary of contracting the coronavirus. She was concerned about possible exposure at work during the winter because she comes into contact with so many people as a bartender at the Sundeck on Aspen Mountain. The transient nature of the town made it seem likely that the coronavirus would appear, she said.

She felt a little drained of energy one day in the second week of March but didn’t initially think much of it. She felt better the next day so she skinned uphill but experienced a shortness of breath that was out of sorts. She relapsed the following day.

Over the next few days she experienced different symptoms at different times that included low energy, body aches, fever, congestion and complete loss of smell and taste like she’s never experienced before. She never came close to taking a trip to the emergency room. Her illness was more of a nuisance, she said.

“It wasn’t bad but I was super low in energy,” she said.

She stayed home from work and avoided people until she was able to get a swab test for the coronavirus in the third week of March.

“A week later it came back positive,” she said. After two weeks of isolation, she tested again and came back negative for the coronavirus.

An antibody test about one week ago confirmed she had had the coronavirus.

“I was going to be pissed if I didn’t have it,” she said.

She was relieved that the disease came and went without a major problem, but she knows she was fortunate. That is her motivation to help those in need.

Moselle said she is supportive of precautions such as social distancing, limits on gatherings and wearing masks in public. She continues to wear a mask at the grocery store and elsewhere.

“I feel like I don’t have to wear one because I’ve had it but nobody knows I’ve had it,” she said.

She has a couple of friends who also had COVID-19 and experienced symptoms similar to hers.

Moselle is a resident of Eagle County, which reported 2,934 individuals had been tested and 57 tests were pending as of Friday. There are 526 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and seven deaths of county residents.

County officials urge residents with coronavirus-like symptoms to report what they experienced at its website. Reports have been filed by 48 residents of Basalt and 33 from El Jebel as of Friday. Mid-March was the most common period for the onset of symptoms, according to the Eagle County community dashboard.

Moselle is back in the great outdoors — skinning, hiking and biking. Like many valley residents she’s making good use of her time until she can return to work in the restaurant and fitness industries.

She’s also eager for a call from Vitalant so she can donate plasma.

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