Tallahassee man speaks on recovering from COVID-19

Published: May. 15, 2020 at 6:32 PM EDT
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By: Elizabeth Millner | WCTV Eyewitness News

May 15, 2020

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- A Tallahassee man is sharing his story of surviving the coronavirus.

He is recovering after spending five days in the hospital.

After showing symptoms in mid-March, Gary Cottingham found himself calling 911.

Paramedics rushed him to the Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare, where doctors diagnosed him with COVID-19.

“Distress with my breathing and so forth, but the breathing distress came on kind of suddenly, you know, that it sort of sneaks up on you with this illness from what I understand,” said Cottingham, speaking to WCTV over Zoom.

He says he also lost his appetite and, over the course of the virus, lost 28 pounds.

He believes he was exposed after his wife made a trip to Atlanta to visit their son, unknowing both were exposed at public places.

“Whenever they both got it, she came back to Tallahassee, infected me cause they didn’t even know they were infected at that time,” he said.

Because he was unable to be with his family, he could only communicate over the phone.

“It was a lot of texting cause, meanwhile, my son just got out of the hospital in Atlanta himself,” he said.

He was released from the hospital on April 4, but he still had to monitor his oxygen and breathing.

He says those who are not following CDC guidelines could also be infecting people without knowing.

“It’s still one of those things where most people don’t personally know somebody that had it. And therefore that’s why I believe people are so quick to want to open things up since they haven’t experienced like its not real,” he said.

Cottingham tells WCTV the true heroes are the medical workers on the front lines who helped him and countless others.

He said he has been tested again for coronavirus this week.

He is still waiting for the results but is confident they will come back negative.

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