After more than two months of treatment, Hector Calderon, the first person in Oregon to test positive for COVID-19, has been discharged from KaiserPermanente Westside Medical Center in Hillsboro.
He has been transferred to a skilled nursing facility to continue his recovery.
ICU charge nurse Chad Cabe said he visited Calderon every chance he got, and “gave him a pep talk and said a little prayer for his recovery – even when he was sedated and intubated.”
One of the motivators Cabe used was to promise Caldeeron a mariachi band and parade when he recovered. Cabe delivered on both promises Monday, May 4. Staff lined the hallways and a mariachi band was playing music outside, where he was also greeted by his pastor and church members.
During his release, Calderon took a moment to send a message to staff and students at Forest Hills Elementary School in Lake Oswego where he works as a janitor.
“I would just like to let you know I miss you so much," Calderon said. "Thank you for your support to me and my family. God bless you and I will see you soon.”
Doctors said that Calderon will need to work with physical therapists to regain his strength.
"He uses some oxygen when he exerts himself," Doctor Sahra Rahimtoola said. “Our hope is that he will have a full recovery, but he still has some work to do and long-term prognosis is unknown since this is a new virus."
In addition to being the first confirmed case in Oregon, Hector is the second patient in the nation determined to have contracted the virus through community spread. The infection was not directly related to someone recently traveling from one of the hard-hit nations that were targets for containment. Calderon was among the first patients in the nation to be treated with Remdesivir.
Kaiser Permanente disease specialist Doctor Katie Shariff, and a parent of a student at Forest Hills Elementary in Lake Oswego, said Calderon has experienced a remarkable journey.
"His courage, strength and resilience throughout has been an inspiration, ”Sharff said. “It was such a joy to see his clinical improvement and hear him asking about students and teachers at the school.”
A GoFundMe account has been set up for Calderon and his family by members of the Forest Hills Elementary community https://www.gofundme.com/f/forest-hills-elementary-employee-fund.