Asleep at the Wheel leader Ray Benson gives update after testing positive for coronavirus

Peter Blackstock, Austin American-Statesman

Ray Benson, leader of Grammy-winning country band Asleep at the Wheel, is updating fans about his condition after he tested positive for the coronavirus.

In a statement to USA TODAY Wednesday, Benson said his symptoms have not progressed, though he still feels "very fatigued (and) dizzy."

"Doctor says if nothing further comes up like elevated temperature, respiratory, cough etc., I should be in the clear in the coming weeks," he added.

Benson also recalled the difficulty of getting tested for COVID-19. According to the singer, he was first tested for other diseases, like influenza and the flu. When those came back negative, he asked for a coronavirus test, only to be told that none were available.

The singer says he returned home as his symptoms became worse. He went back to the doctor on Monday for bloodwork before finally getting a coronavirus test. The results came back Tuesday morning.

"I am and was very frustrated with the lack of testing available," he said. "It took basically testing for everything else to acquire a COVID-19 test." 

Asleep at the Wheel leader Ray Benson said on Facebook March 31 that he had tested positive for COVID-19. The primary symptom has been fatigue, he said. In a statement to USA TODAY on April 1, Benson gave an update, saying his symptoms have not progressed farther and he feels "very lucky and optimistic." "Doctor says if nothing further comes up like elevated temperature, respiratory, cough etc., I should be in the clear in the coming weeks," he said. Benson also encouraged people to take the virus seriously and practice social distancing.

Benson encouraged people to "take this virus seriously" and practice social distancing.

"If you think or subscribe to those folks whose opinion is that this virus isn’t that big of a deal, please consider otherwise," he continued. "We all know someone or somebody who has lost their life to this virus and we have lots of folks currently fighting the virus and their families need your thoughts and prayers as well."

Benson capped off his statement saying he looks forward to playing music with his band again.

In a Facebook post Tuesday, Benson said he hasn’t had all the typical symptoms, such as fever and cough, but had headaches in addition to feeling tired.

Benson, who turned 69 this month, had planned his traditional birthday party concert during South by Southwest, but the event was called off when the festival was canceled. Asleep at the Wheel has been in the midst of celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

Post by ray.benson.

On March 19, Benson served as host of a livestream event that replaced this year’s planned Luck Reunion. Benson delivered his contributions from Arlyn Studios in his hometown of Austin, Texas, which had a skeleton crew on hand to help to coordinate livestreams by artists across the country.

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Since then, according to his Facebook post, Benson has “been alone for the most part” and took precautions, including wearing a face mask, regularly washing his hands and using hand sanitizer.

Benson is one of several entertainers who said they tested positive for the coronavirus. Fountains of Wayne member Adam Schlesinger is hospitalized as he battles COVID-19, his lawyer told USA TODAY on Tuesday.

Contributing: Charles Trepany

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Asleep at the Wheel's Ray Benson gives update on battle with COVID-19