Trumbull County’s first coronavirus patient recovering at home

Coronavirus

A local doctor said while patients may not have fully recovered, sometimes heading home is their best option

WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – Warren COVID-19 patient Kevin Harris is recovering at home now after sharing his unhappiness with being discharged from the hospital recently.

Coronavirus patients with the most severe symptoms are admitted to the hospital but as soon as they’re out of danger, they are sent home.

People who contract the virus can have a range of symptoms. Some feel fine and others find themselves in intensive care, which is what happened to Harris.

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He was the first confirmed case in Trumbull County and the fifth in the Ohio. Now he’s at home, in isolation.

“I’m, like, bed-ridden but I’m not sick with the virus bed-ridden,” Harris said. “They told me that I have a two-month recovery, and I may have permanent liver damage and permanent lung damage.”

He said he’s improving now but he was worried when St. Joseph Hospital in Warren discharged him after 13 days. Harris said he felt very sore and he was very weak.

Dr. James Kravec, who works at Mercy Health in Youngstown, said while patients may not have fully recovered, sometimes heading home is their best option.

“You really don’t want to be in the hospital longer than you medically need to be. Other things, other bad things, can happen when you’re in the hospital too long. You should go home and be in isolation.”

Kravec said doctors follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention when they discharge a coronavirus patient. They look at things that can differ based on the medical teams and conditions of specific patients.

“Improved oxygenation levels, less shortness of breath, improved labs, improved imaging studies,” Kravec said. “So there’s really no absolute guideline for when someone is to be discharged.”

Harris said the problem with his discharge was communication at the time. He didn’t feel physically prepared to leave and said his home was not properly prepared for isolation.

But he does understand the situation hospitals face, knowing the number of cases are expected to grow.

“They’re going to get you in, get you stable and get you out so they can get on to the next person and I get it. With all the stuff I’ve heard from around the world, I get it and I don’t have a problem with that. I can recoup at home, it’s just I’m going to have some issues for a couple of months.”

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