Heartland couple gives update on coronavirus scare in China

Updated: Apr. 10, 2020 at 3:48 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

NANJING, China (KFVS) - When Derek and Kacie Golliher left southern Illinois in September to teach in China they knew they’d be in for adventure.

However, as the strange new virus crept into their city the photos on the couple’s Facebook page shifted from smiling children and tourist snap shots, to masked selfies and empty store shelves.

(Source: Derek & Kacie Galliher)
(Source: Derek & Kacie Galliher)(Derek & Kacie Galliher)

“You know I’ve never been more nervous than then worried or anything like that,” said Kacie Golliher, of Union County.

Heartland News spoke with the couple on February 23, at the height of China’s COVID-19 outbreak from their apartment in Nanjing, China.

“Everything pretty much shut down everything came to a halt. And they put you know a city of eight million people were pretty much just on pause it was a ghost town outside of our windows,” said Kacie Golliher.

As the virus spread, the couple, along with the rest of the city and country, remained on lockdown.

(Source: Derek & Kacie Galliher)
(Source: Derek & Kacie Galliher)(Derek & Kacie Galliher)

“It’s been pretty insane staying here,” said Derek Golliher in a follow-up interview April 9, 2020. “We’d stay in our room throughout the entire day and we leave to go get food and sit around and do work online, definitely getting a little stir crazy.”

After months of staying home, the couple said things are starting to return to normal. Some restrictions are being lifted, and stores and restaurants are reopening. But the Gollihers say they are still taking precautions and wearing masks when they leave home as they’ve seen hints that a second wave of COVID-19 is possible.

(Source: Derek & Kacie Galliher)
(Source: Derek & Kacie Galliher)(Derek & Kacie Galliher)

“So here in our province, we were completely clear of the virus for a few days maybe even a couple of weeks, but they did have some people returning to the province that brought it back and there are about 18 cases here now I think, as far as I know, none of them are in our cities still yet,” said Kacie Golliher.

For the most part, the couple feels Nanjing has gotten through the pandemic, and they are looking forward to life returning to normal again.

“Almost everything is back to normal now with the exception of my school still being closed,” said Kacie Golliher. “Businesses are opening regular hours people are asking about like they used to be before the virus. I mean there’s still a little bit of travel restrictions in place but those are starting to lighten up as well. Like I said, aside from the school reopening I think things are about as back to normal as they can be. Now after the virus came through.”

The couple plan to return to southern Illinois in September when their teaching contract ends. They have yet to return to the classroom.

Copyright 2020 KFVS. All rights reserved.