Coronavirus survivor shares warning

People must heed the advice of government and health care officials in following measures to slow down the spread of the novel coronavirus.

They also should listen to Lorain resident Cookie Villarreal, 69, who survived this nasty disease.

Villarreal began to fall ill at her Lorain home March 22.

By March 25, her husband, 67-year-old Joe Villarreal, said she couldn’t get out of bed and was taken to the ICU unit of Cleveland Clinic Richard E. Jacobs Health Center in Avon.

Cookie contracted COVID-19, but has very little memory of her experience with the virus.

She remembered having a really high fever, which started March 23.

Joe said when his wife couldn’t get out of bed March 25, he called the family doctor, who advised to take her to the hospital.

The Avon hospital took her right away.

Joe received a call from the hospital the following day to inform him that his wife had developed problems breathing and would be put on a ventilator.

She was so sick that her family and friends weren’t sure if she was going to survive.

As Cookie’s condition improved, doctors took her off the ventilator April 2 and transferred her from the ICU to an isolated room.

Once she was out of the ICU, she started looking through her phone and saw all kinds of messages.

Cookie acknowledges she’s lucky just to be alive.

As she reflects on her recovery, she said the team of nurses and doctors in the ICU were amazing.

Although her family was not with her in ICU, they were with her in spirit praying for her.

But Cookie said she will forever be grateful for the medical staff, and they will always be in her prayers.

And she returned home April 6, just in time for Easter.

The Villarreals have a stern message for people who are lackadaisical about COVID-19 and the dangers if people don’t follow social distancing protocol and proper hygiene.

They said people must listen to the experts and stay home when possible.

… Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine extended his stay-at-home order from April 6 to May 1.

Although DeWine says the disease is not spreading as fast as officials thought it would, this is no time to let up.

People are still spreading the virus.

People are still dying from it.

… As officials have said and continue to say, we can’t let our guard down, not yet.

COVID-19 doesn’t care who is in its way.

But we should.

— The Lorain Morning Journal, April 11; Online: