x
Breaking News
More () »

Fort Smith/Fayetteville News | 5newsonline KFSM 5NEWS | Get the local news and weather where you live from 5NEWS. Covering Fort Smith, Fayetteville, Bentonville, and all of Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley.

After 16 days in hospital, COVID-19 survivor is one of hundreds recently discharged from UCHealth

Hundreds of COVID-19 patients have recovered enough to be released in recent days, UCHealth said.

LOVELAND, Colo. — Hundreds of COVID-19 patients have recovered enough to be released in recent days from UCHealth hospitals.

One of those patients is Sergio Rodriguez, 59, who's among dozens of workers at the JBS meatpacking plant in Greeley who tested positive for COVID-19, according to UCHealth.

Rodriguez started feeling sick around March 20, and was taken to the hospital on March 27, according to family members.

Despite needing to go on a ventilator at one point, Rodriguez was discharged from UCHealth Medical Center for the Rockies on Saturday after spending 16 days in the hospital.

RELATED: Family buries worker on same day JBS shuts down plant

Credit: Cyrus McCrimmon
APRIL 18, 2020: LOVELAND, CO: Coronavirus patient Sergio Rodriguez was discharged from the UCHealth Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland on Saturday, April 18, 2020. Rodriguez defeated the Coronavirus and is heading home to recover. Medical teams came to the lobby to send him off and then he was greeted by his family outside. (Photo by Cyrus McCrimmon for UCHealth)


Rodriguez's wife, children, grandchildren and other family members greeted him outside the hospital with signs that read, “Welcome Home Grandpa” and “Thank you Doctors and Nurses.”

“I thank God and the doctors and nurses,” Rodriguez said while getting in the car with his wife, Yolanda Rodriguez.

“It’s a miracle,” Yolanda Rodriguez said. “It was all that praying.”

Rafael Hernandez, Sergio's son, had been keeping a vigil in the parking lot outside the hospital and often slept in his car to be near his father, UCHealth said.

“This is just the best time of my life. I’m able to look him in the eyes and embrace him,” Hernandez said.

RELATED: JBS meatpacking plant in Greeley closes

Credit: Cyrus McCrimmon
APRIL 18, 2020: LOVELAND, CO: Coronavirus patient Sergio Rodriguez was discharged from the UCHealth Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland on Saturday, April 18, 2020. Rodriguez defeated the Coronavirus and is heading home to recover. Medical teams came to the lobby to send him off and then he was greeted by his family outside. (Photo by Cyrus McCrimmon for UCHealth)


Sergio Rodriguez will need time to completely recover, but doctors said he has improved dramatically since getting off the ventilator earlier this week.

“It takes time to work. The (virus) is a big shock to the body. It’s great when we can get someone extubated (removed from a ventilator). It’s always a big sigh of relief,” said Connor Murphy, one of Sergio Rodriguez's nurses.

Sergio Rodriguez was moved into a different unit after getting off the ventilator where he was able to see his son through the window praying, playing music and singing in the parking lot 

“He had a huge smile on his face. I told him he was my best rock star because he progressed faster than anyone I have seen,” said Krista Liley, an occupational therapist who worked with Sergio Rodriguez.

“I’m so glad to have him home,” Yolanda Rodriguez said. “He’s been calling me all morning. He’s been so excited.”

UCHealth reports more than 460 hospitalized COVID-19 patients have already recovered and have been discharged from its hospitals in Colorado. This includes about 240 in metro Denver, 65 in southern Colorado and 160 in northern Colorado.

Credit: Cyrus McCrimmon
APRIL 18, 2020: LOVELAND, CO: Coronavirus patient Sergio Rodriguez was discharged from the UCHealth Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland on Saturday, April 18, 2020. Rodriguez defeated the Coronavirus and is heading home to recover. Medical teams came to the lobby to send him off and then he was greeted by his family outside. (Photo by Cyrus McCrimmon for UCHealth)
Credit: Cyrus McCrimmon
APRIL 18, 2020: LOVELAND, CO: Coronavirus patient Sergio Rodriguez was discharged from the UCHealth Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland on Saturday, April 18, 2020. Rodriguez defeated the Coronavirus and is heading home to recover. Medical teams came to the lobby to send him off and then he was greeted by his family outside. (Photo by Cyrus McCrimmon for UCHealth)
Credit: Cyrus McCrimmon
APRIL 18, 2020: LOVELAND, CO: Coronavirus patient Sergio Rodriguez was discharged from the UCHealth Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland on Saturday, April 18, 2020. Rodriguez defeated the Coronavirus and is heading home to recover. Medical teams came to the lobby to send him off and then he was greeted by his family outside. The Thunderbirds who were flying over the Front Range passed over the UCHealth Medical Center of the Rockies. (Photo by Cyrus McCrimmon for UCHealth)

SUGGESTED VIDEOS: COVID-19 Coronavirus