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32-year-old who nearly died from COVID-19 is now recovering at home

Posted at 10:45 PM, Mar 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-28 08:42:30-04

OAK PARK, Mich. (WXYZ) — As the coronavirus is taking its toll on so many from metro Detroit and all over the world, we’re also hearing stories of hope from people that have survived COVID-19.

We talked via Facetime to an Oak Park man who was diagnosed last week and is thankfully recovering.

“On Monday, March 9th, I was at work and I started to feel chills and developed a fever and nausea and diarrhea,” says Joe Harris.

After feeling off at work, the 32-year-old thought he had the stomach flu, so he spent the next 7 days in bed resting.

After a full week with no improvement he went to urgent care. But having COVID-19 symptoms and airing on the side of caution, the clinic refused to treat him and sent him home with a prescription for antibiotics.

Two days later, he developed a very bad, dry cough.

“As that day progressed, I was unable to breathe and so my girlfriend drove me to the emergency room at Royal Oak Beaumont,” says Harris.

After a quick exam, Harris was put on oxygen, given an X-Ray and was tested for the coronavirus.

“it took several days for the test results to come back positive for the coronavirus, but the X-Ray showed that i was going into respiratory failure,” he says.

He was diagnosed with double pneumonia.

“The ICU team was remarkable,” he says. “I think kind of like, watch my life be saved in real time was something that was very inspiring.” Harris says.

After 6 days in the hospital he was released and is recovering at home checking in with his doctor daily.

“I was a healthy person, that you know, I still have no idea how I contracted it and almost died,” Harris says. “You know, I had no idea how close I was to dying, which is still very scary to me.”

He’s so grateful to all the men and women working at Royal Oak Beaumont Hospital that helped him through this.

“Thank you in every way possible and I’m sending so much good energy to them you know how many people they’re treating, and I know how lucky I am,” he says. “I mean, they’re working around the clock and putting their own lives on the line. I just want to send as many good wishes as possible.”

He has a word of advice to everyone.

“Stay inside. The momentary, you know, inconvenience, shortened however inconvenient and truncated your life is right now, it’s not worth the alternative,” he says. “Trust me it’s not.”

Harris still has a few weeks of recovery, but he’s very thankful to be on the other side of this pandemic.

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

Read our daily Coronavirus Live Blog for the latest updates and news on coronavirus.

Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Michigan, a timeline of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Southeast Michigan, and links to more information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC and the WHO.

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

Find out how you can help metro Detroit restaurants struggling during the pandemic.

See all of our Helping Each Other stories.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.