Family and welcome balloons greeted Alvarado Wednesday morning as he returned home for the first time since last summer.
“Going through this was a really long journey, with ups and downs and not knowing what was going to come out of all this,” said Alvarado’s daughter, Claribel Salas.
Alvarado spent 7 months in Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center after testing positive for COVID-19.
He got the virus from his family, who were all asymptomatic and have since recovered.
“He said that he had a lot of fevers, and he had a really dry cough. He said he felt really weak,” said Salas.
Salas helped translate for us, as Alvarado’s English is limited.
“He needed to go on dialysis because his kidneys were failing, his liver was failing, he was internally bleeding,” Salas said.
She says her dad was in a coma for 3 months, then he spent 4 months in the I.C.U.
The family says they missed holidays and birthdays without him, since hospital visitation rules were so strict.
“My mom would go one day, or my sister would go one day, or my brother,” said Salas.
Only one family member per day was allowed to visit, “He says the days were long.”
Alvarado says his faith, family, and especially his young nephew, were his motivation to get better.
“He said thanks God, that I’m back in my home,” said Salas.
The fight is not yet over, though, the family says Alvarado must go through at least a year of therapy. He’ll have to learn how to walk and feed himself all over again.
“His muscles are good, his bones are good, he just needs to wake them up,” said Salas.
Alvarado says he hopes people will realize how serious COVID-19 is after hearing about his experience.
“He asks people to protect themselves, you know, stay six feet apart and this is not a joke.”
The family says Alvarado is insured, but not all medical expenses and equipment are covered.
If interested in donating to the family, a GoFundMe is set up for Alvarado online.
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NBC5 News reporter Mariah Mills is a Medford native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor’s Degree in journalism. She also minored in sociology.
In school, she covered Oregon athletics for the student-run television station, Duck TV. When she’s not reporting, she’s reading, hiking and rooting for her favorite teams, the Seattle Seahawks and the Oregon Ducks.