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He Got COVID in March— and Just Got Home From the Hospital

Chris Hirte still has a long way to go
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 24, 2020 2:30 PM CDT

(Newser) – A Minnesota man is grateful to be returning home after 208 grueling days in a hospital—all with the coronavirus, WCCO reports. "Well I think I'm fortunate to have love and family like I do," says Chris Hirte, whose speech was slowed by two months on a ventilator. "They supported me." The small business owner fell ill back in March and hit a 108-degree temperature about a month later, forcing doctors to give his family grim news: "They called me in for a compassionate visit because they didn’t think he was going to make it that night," says Hirte's sister, Dawn Ramaley. But Hirte endured, suffering a double lung collapse and losing mobility in both legs from all those immobile months. "No one has said he won't recover fully, so that's our goal and our expectation," Ramaley said.

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She told WCCO back in May that her brother was "an extremely well controlled diabetic" who "doesn't even take medicine" and has "fabulous" numbers—but was unable to talk or respond after entering the ICU at North Memorial Hospital in Robinsdale on March 26. He was also admitted too early to benefit from experimental antiviral drugs, so the 50-year-old needed time and care. His friend Michele Kivi says the crisis opened her eyes to COVID-19: "I get in arguments all the time on Facebook over it, but you know if you had someone in the hospital that was fighting every day to get better you'd understand," she said. Hirte, a small business owner, has every reason to agree: "Believe it," he said. "This virus is nothing to mess around with." (Read more coronavirus stories.)

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