VADNAIS HEIGHTS, Minn. (WCCO) A Twin Cities man credits a newly available antiviral pill for treating COVID-19 by keeping him out of the hospital.
Jeff Carlson, 61, is at high risk for serious illness with COVID-19 and met the requirements to get the treatment due to his type 1 diabetes. He did his best to avoid getting infected, and despite being vaccinated and boosted, he tested positive a week ago.
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“I was not sure I would cope, would be able to pull myself out of it, the situation of having COVID. So bad it started to get,” Carlson said. “COVID had hit me like becoming run over by a truck. It was in a very short time that I became significantly ill. ”
He says he soon could not get up off the couch. As time went on, he experienced difficulty breathing, and a pulse oximeter reading at home showed that his oxygen was falling to dangerous levels. He also had a persistent temperature.
“At that point, I was told by my medical team that I was going to the emergency room,” he said.
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Knowing how crowded hospitals are, he was determined to ride it out to his home in Vadnais Heights. That was when his doctors at M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Medical Center weighed and gave him a new antiviral pill treatment.
“After I finished the second dose, everything started to get better,” Carlson said.
He says it was a relief. There are two pills from Merck and Pfizer with varying efficacy to take after being tested positive for COVID-19, and within five days of symptoms before going to the hospital. It is designed for the most vulnerable to be hospitalized or die.
“It’s life-changing,” Carlson said. “Taking these drugs and getting out from under the grip of COVID to get your life back.”
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Right now, supplies are limited. click here to see who M Health Fairview says is justified. The Minnesota Department of Health also has one patient risk calculator.