‘I never felt that I was going to die in that place, but I knew I was in a fight’: Last patient to leave COVID-only hospital recovering

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GREENSBORO, N.C. — Cone Health’s last patient at its COVID only hospital is back home recovering after being released on Wednesday.

“When he did finally tell me I was the only one left I said, ‘Are you serious?’ I said, ‘In this great big hospital I’m the only one?’ They said ‘Miss Curtis you the only one,'” Barbara Curtis said.

Hospital staff at the Green Valley campus wheeled Curtis down the hallway to the sounds of her favorite song, “Happy” by Pharrell Williams, for one final goodbye.

“That’s the first thing that popped into my mind, happy. And I am happy. I’m happy that God had created a team of people for such a time as this because they had to know what they was doing,” Curtis said.

Before Wednesday’s celebration the 65-year-old was in the fight of her life.

“I knew that in my mind that I was going to come out. I never felt that I was going to die in that place, but I knew I was in a fight,” Curtis said.

Her blood pressure and oxygen level struggled to stabilize and she was cut off from friends and family.

“It was so terrible,” Curtis said.

A week in the hospital and Curtis is grateful and humbled to be back home.

“Take this seriously. Don’t take it as something lightly, something to play with, something that’s a game,” Curtis said.

One year into the pandemic and she and thousands of others are survivors, forever changed by the virus.

“When you go to this place, I mean there’s no way, it’s no way you going to come out of and be the same, it’s no way,” Curtis said.

Doctors told Curtis she needs to stay on oxygen at home until she regains her strength.

Cone Health closed the Green Valley campus on March 5, as hospitalizations and cases continue to decline.

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