FORT SMITH, Ark. — Behind the COVID-19 numbers released every day by the Arkansas Department of Health are people like Zach Krueger, who have spent months away from their loved ones after contracting the virus.
His wife Katherine says it’s been the hardest few months without her husband by her side. She says he contracted the virus just a week after their son was born, and he's been in the hospital ever since.
“There’s been a lot of ups and downs in this," Katherine said. "I mean they were talking about end of life care wishes. We are in our 30’s with no pre-existing conditions so to just completely surreal very unexpected obviously."
34-year-old Zach was one of the many patients on a ventilator.
“Over 40 days in the hospital and I think it’s like 37-38 days on the vent,” Krueger said.
Zach continues to battle the virus alone in the hospital while his wife, daughter, and newborn baby boy pray for a speedy recovery from their home.
“This weekend Joel will be two months old so it just puts in perspective how long he's been away,” Katherine said.
She says Zach's fight is nothing short of a miracle after waking up from a medically induced coma and defying all odds.
“Each day he’s just gotten more lucid and more responsive and just better and better, needed less intervention and less support from the vent,” she said.
Zach's work isn’t over yet but the couple can see the light is at the end of the tunnel and his fight is nearly won.
“It’s been a very long road and truly like a huge turn around with those instances in themselves and then him getting a trach today," Katherine said. "It’s pretty incredible that God has brought him this far. I’m humbled and thankful and just hopeful ya know."
By the end of the week, Zach is expected to move out of the covid unit. Katherine can then visit him for the first time in over 40 days.