Steininger shares his experience with COVID-19

Dan Steininger
Dan Steininger

What clinicians believed was a simple sinus infection turned out to be COVID-19 for Dan Steininger, president, and co-founder of BizStarts Milwaukee and the former chief executive officer of Catholic Financial Life.

In mid-April, Steininger was visiting family members in San Diego, California when he began running a fever. At a walk-in clinic, Steininger was told he had a sinus infection. When he returned to Milwaukee, his condition became worse.

“It’s one of those things when it started, I thought it was a simple flu,” Steininger said.

In Milwaukee, Steininger contacted a clinic, but was told he did not qualify for a test because of a lack of symptoms, he said.

“A week later I end up in the hospital, I was tested for COVID-19 and I was negative but my doctor’s did not buy it and they put me in an isolation ward in the hospital,” Steininger said.

Later, Steininger took a test for antibodies, which involves taking a blood sample to see if you previously had the virus and if your immune system produced protective proteins, or antibodies, to fight off the infection.

“The positive thing, I was tested for antibodies and tested high, which means number one, I have an immunity and number two, they want me to donate my blood,” Steininger said.

During his two-week hospital stay, Steininger received oxygen, but was not on a ventilator nor was he placed in the ICU.

“I didn’t have a ventilator, I didn’t need that thank God,” Steiniger said. “But it was still a tough couple of weeks it was no walk in the park.”

Despite his condition, Steininger said he was able to get work done and in fact, signed off on contracts for lighting the Daniel Hoan Bridge while in the hospital, he said.

“Over $3 million worth of contracts I signed from my hospital bed,” Steininger said. “I was smart enough to take my laptop with me and among other things I got a lot of work done.”
In reflecting about his experience, Steiniger said the most important thing for people to realize is that COVID-19 testing is not always accurate.

“If you’ve got a temperature or are running a temperature, time to see a doctor and go to a hospital,” Steininger said.

Having experienced COVID-19 himself, Steininger wrote an opinion piece for the BizTimes on how Wisconsin can and should reopen the economy safely.


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