How 2 former Fayetteville COVID-19 patients are doing months after being hospitalized

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- The NCDHHS said Monday approximately 55,318 people in North Carolina have recovered from COVID-19, so ABC11 decided to check in with a few recovered patients in Fayetteville months after beating the virus.

Both Harold Lassiter and Alfred Payne were hospitalized at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center (CFVMC) during the first few months of the pandemic.

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Alfred Payne was admitted into CFVMC back in March and spent nearly a month fighting for his life in a hospital bed.

"It seemed like, almost immediately, it went from bad to worse, and the next thing I know it's a whole month later," Payne said.

FULL CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE

In that month, Payne was unconscious, battling a fever and uncontrollable sweat which eventually led to pneumonia and double kidney failure. The father of three was on daily dialysis and intubated to help with breathing.

"Didn't even know where I was when I first woke up," said Payne.

After finally being released from the hospital, Payne had lost 100 pounds and the ability to move most of his body.

Lassiter tested positive for COVID-19 in May. He slowly saw his symptoms intensify until he had to be rushed to CFVMC. His symptoms included difficulty breathing, fever, sweat and exhaustion.

Doctors treated him with oxygen and the anti-viral drug Remdesivir.

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The 41-year-old has asthma and high blood pressure, meaning he was also high risk.

"That first week was actually tough at home cause, you know, you're still coughing, and you know, dealing with just being weak and no energy," Lassiter said.

A month and a half later, Lassiter's lingering cough is gone and his strength is back to nearly 100 percent.

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Lassiter told ABC11 he's even been able to go to the golf course and enjoy his favorite hobby.

"A good eating habit, all those things, so, you know, a step by step process," Lassiter said.

For Payne, he had to spend two months in physical therapy to learn how to walk again. He said he no longer has high blood pressure, a condition he dealt with before contracting the virus.

"I can walk, I can run, I'm back to fixing cars and building things around the house. Things I thought I'd never get back to being able to do," Payne said.

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Despite the lack of long lasting medical problems from these two men, Payne and Lassiter say it hasn't been the case for everybody and hope people continue to take the pandemic seriously.

"I tell people, 'I do not want it again, and trust me, you do not want it for the first time,'" Lassiter said.

Medical experts are still trying to determine the long term effects COVID-19 can have on a person's vital organs.
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