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Watch: Burlington man reunites with wife, daughter after coronavirus had him on the ‘brink of death’


WALLINGFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — A Burlington father is lucky to be alive after a long courageous fight with COVID-19.   

On Friday, 56-year-old Vic Gara hugged his wife and daughter for the first time in a month at Wallingford’s Gaylord Hospital.

“I’m feeling phenomenal,” he told News 8. “It’s a new lease on life. I can go home after this ordeal I went through. Very happy. Feel great.”

However, more than a month ago, Gara didn’t feel well. He thought it was allergies, but a few days later, he developed a fever.  Then, he was admitted to Hartford Hospital on March 25.

“The next few days, isolation, meeting with the infectious disease doctor and then after that I have no recollection what happened. I was on a ventilator for 11 days. Woke up on April 8. My daughter’s 27th birthday.”

“It was a very difficult few weeks,” his wife Laura said. “Never been through anything like that before, and I don’t wish that on anybody else.”

“He was extremely sick in the intensive care unit and on a ventilator and just as sick as some of the sickest patients out there,” Gaylord Hospital Medical Director, Megan Panico said.

 She said Gara was on the brink of death, but now with the help of rehab and physical therapy, he is the first COVID-19 patient going home from Gaylord Hospital.

He still needs physical therapy to try and get back to where he was before getting sick. Gara said the first thing he’s going to do when he gets home is give himself a haircut and shave off his “COVID beard” as he calls it. 

He wants everyone to be vigilant about social distancing, washing hands and stressed to be kind to one another.  He believes that’s how we’ll get through this.

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