Photo courtesy Dan Skenandore
Oneida Nation citizen and Green Bay Police Officer Dan Skenandore has returned to full duty with the department. Skenandore and his family were quarantined for 14 days following his positive test for COVID-19. The department believes he may have contracted the virus during a subject detainment.
As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Northeast Wisconsin continues to climb, so do the virtually uncountable number of people who have completely recovered. Among those considered high-risk for contracting the virus are area first responders who, by the very nature of their work, are often required to interact closely with the general public. One such case is that of Oneida Nation citizen and three-year Green Bay Police Department veteran Dan Skenandore.
Skenandore, a 2001 graduate of Oneida Nation High School, tested positive for COVID-19 after an interaction with an individual Thursday, March 26 in Green Bay while on duty. “How I actually contracted this is not absolutely certain,” Skenandore said. “What we believe may have happened is I contracted this while I detained somebody during an investigation. Apparently that person had contact with another person who had already tested positive. About three days after that interaction I began to feel sick and I called in. I had to call in a second day and I was sent in to get tested, and the results came back positive the following day.
“I knew I was sick,” Skenandore said. “It felt like a common illness…. almost like a seasonal flu. So, when the results came back I was told that it was extremely likely the people in my household also have it. But while it was highly likely they also had it, they weren’t going to be tested without displaying extreme symptoms of the active virus. My coworkers at the police department also took precautions and quarantined until they could either be tested or were out of the incubation period.”
A married father of three who resides in Brown County, Skenandore immediately self-quarantined in his home away from his family for 14 days. While each member of his immediate family did eventually fall ill, his children weren’t severely impacted. “Everybody was symptomatic but fortunately the children were only minimally affected,” Skenandore said. “My wife is now also getting out of the quarantine phase and we are all feeling so much better. We’re finally getting back to a full house together which is great.
“The only way this affected my wife and I beyond the regular flu was the considerable amount of chest pressure,” Skenandore said. “For a few days it felt like somebody was pressing on my chest while I was trying to breath, but fortunately our children only suffered some coughs and congestion and the typical discomfort associated with a common cold.”
Family dynamics during a 14-day home quarantine can be best described as different, Skenandore said. “While serving food in the house I would set out everybody’s plates and then quickly leave the room before they came and grabbed them,” Skenandore laughed. “It was difficult and strange…. very different. We all had our own little spot in the house and technology was such a blessing because we were all able to stay connected with the various apps now available. Online learning has been fantastic with not having to fall too far behind in a lot of areas. But just being able to still connect played an important part in our making it through the quarantine.”
The health and safety of his family was always front and center on his mind throughout their ordeal. “This was absolutely paramount,” Skenandore said. “I am so grateful that our children are in good health and got through this fairly unscathed. I mean if there is such a thing as an optimal way to go through something like this, I guess this is the way to do it.”
Skenandore and his family are now completely recovered from the effects of COVID-19 and free from quarantine. He is back on full duty with the Green Bay Police Department. “I’m back on my shift taking the regular police calls and calls for service,” Skenandore said. “What’s changed a little bit is how we screen our calls for certain risk factors. Some of the things we would typically take care of in person now have to be taken care of telephonically. That’s just a must.
“But we still have to interact with people and render first aid,” Skenandore said. “Obviously there are times where we have to break social distancing guidelines to do our job. But our training and tactics play a big role in how we interact with the public and they’ve helped keep us safe. They work hand in hand with the current social distancing recommendations that are already in place.”
The outpouring of understanding and support from family, friends, and the surrounding community has the Skenandore family’s appreciation. “Everybody has been extremely nice and helpful during this difficult time,” Skenandore said. “Being surrounded by people who love you, care about you, and take care of you is exactly what we needed. My immediate family received tons of support and prayers from friends and family outside of our home.
“I wasn’t trying to keep any of this secret,” Skenandore said. “I think the more information people and the public has…the better off we’re all going to be. I advocate for people to have as much information as possible. If they know what’s happening, then there doesn’t have to be so much fear with this. The phone call I received saying I had contracted this potentially deadly virus was very concerning and scary. But getting through it and being able to tell people that this isn’t going to harm everybody is key. Showing people that there is hope and a very large chance that they’ll get out on the other end of this in good health like my family and I did is very important.
“I really want to tell everybody ‘Thank you so much,’” Skenandore said. “This could have been so much worse trying to deal with this isolation and the effects of the virus without the support we’ve been blessed with. I just can’t thank everybody enough. It’s so good to see how people can come together in times like this current state of separation we have right now. I’ve never felt closer to a lot of people, community members, friends, and family than I do right now.”