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COVID-19 precaution signs are posted outside the Frankfort Regional Medical Center emergency department entrance. (Hannah Brown | State Journal)

The 61-year-old woman who was quarantined in Frankfort Regional Medical Center, with the first known case of COVID-19 in Franklin County, was released from the hospital Tuesday and is isolated with her husband in their Frankfort home.

For privacy reasons, they spoke to a reporter on the condition their names would not be disclosed.

She remains on oxygen and she and her husband must temporarily remain isolated from each other within the home. She is monitoring the oxygen level herself.

Because her husband was self-quarantined at their home while his wife was in the hospital, his quarantine will end Friday — two weeks from the date she was tested.

They must take their temperature and report the findings, via text, to the Franklin County Health Department twice each day, in the morning and evening.

The turnaround during her 11-day stay in quarantine at the hospital began, they said, when doctors decided to administer Chloroquine, one of the medications widely mentioned as a possible treatment for coronavirus.

Chloroquine has been used in the past to treat malaria patients.

“The big problem was her oxygen levels,” her husband said. “She was unable to maintain a healthy oxygen level.”

But, after receiving a daily dose of Cholorquine starting when her test results confirmed she had the virus, her oxygen levels began to show improvement, and more importantly, she was able to maintain those levels on her own.

“I cannot thank the health professionals at the hospital enough,” she said. “Their decision, to try the Cholorquine, made a huge difference in how I began to feel.

“I hope the community is aware of what tremendous health care professionals we have at our local hospital. The doctors, nurses, technicians, staff … I truly feel I was in the right place at the right time. I received the care I needed to get well.”

At the suggestion of an old friend, a group of the family’s friends began praying each night, all at the same time from the safety of their own homes.

Whether silently or out loud, regardless of religion or level of religious involvement, these family friends, and now others who have been added to the prayer chain, continue nightly to wish for her speedy recovery.

Those same friends are now delivering hot meals to the couple each night. The meals are left on the porch for the husband to retrieve.

“The positive of all this is you learn how precious your friends and family are to you,” the husband said through tears. “I won’t take anyone for granted again.”

The woman first saw her primary care physician early the week of March 9, when she was tested for the flu. The test was negative.

After continuing to feel sick, she returned to her doctor and was tested again, with the same results.

Her husband took her to the hospital March 12, where she tested positive for the flu and was admitted. A scan showed spots on her lungs, after which medical personnel tested her for the coronavirus March 13.

She did not receive the results of the coronavirus test for five days.

The hardest part while she was in the hospital, her husband said, was that he had to be quarantined at home.

“That was really hard, not being able to be there and sit with her,” he said. “Even though we are isolated now, thank goodness she is home.”

The couple is not able to ascertain where she was exposed to the virus. They had not traveled out of state, nor been in contact with anyone, to their knowledge, who has the virus.

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