Patients recovering from COVID-19, symptoms of virus share experiences

Published: Mar. 30, 2020 at 6:51 PM CDT
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Kansas officials expect the peak of COVID-19 to start during the third or fourth week of April. With that, many more cases are likely to come as some of the state's first confirmed patients are in recovery.

Eyewitness News first told you about Andrew Smith more than a week ago. The Kansas State University journalism professor was hospitalized in Manhattan, Kan. after contracting COVID-19 overseas.

The good news is he's back home. However, the recovery is one he expects to take weeks, if not months because of other conditions brought on by the virus.

"Pneumonia and I ended up with hepatitis and now deep vein thrombosis," Smith says. "The COVID is a partner. It likes to partner."

Earlier this month, Smith returned from London following a study-abroad trip. Already planning to quarantine, it didn't take long for him to start feeling the symptoms of COVID-19.

"I was unloading the suitcases and got really out of breath," Smith says. "Started coughing and I'm like, 'man that doesn't sound good.' We thought it was just jet lag, long day. Went to bed and woke up the next day with a high fever."

Smith was the first positive COVID-19 case in Manhattan. He spent five days in a local hospital's intensive care unit. He is now home and continuing to recover in quarantine with his family for at least the next week and a half.

"Our community here where we live has been absolutely tremendous," Smith says. "We're in heavy quarantine. We can't go out. We can't go to the store. We're not in the social distancing."

A study released last week by the Center for Disease Control shows among Americans diagnosed with the disease, about one-quarter of patients were hospitalized. For people older than 85, chances of hospitalization ranged from about 30 percent to 70 percent, depending on risk factors.

Deaths from COVID-19 remain low, averaging about two-and-a-half percent. Although for people older than 85, that number is about 19 percent.

"As people start showing signs, start getting those symptoms, understand that it is basically putting the brakes on your life," Smith says.

He says the best thing people can do to fight the spread of COVID-19 is to take advice from health officials.

"Best defense is don't catch it," Smith says. "The social distancing and the stay-at-home orders, take those seriously."

Kylie Wike, in Wichita ended up testing negative for COVID-19, but she was in quarantine after showing symptoms. Wike says she left her home for the first time Monday (March 30) after her self-quarantine ended.

She recently moved from Washington state -- one of the hardest-hit states where the first confirmed COVID-19 case in the U.S. was reported in January -- to Wichita.

While testing negative for the virus, Wike says having the symptoms worried her and had her taking precautions.

"My sister is pregnant. She's 26 weeks pregnant, and my mother has an autoimmune disease," Wike says. "So me coming home and figuring out that the symptoms were COVID-19 instead of just a regular flu, that was scary."