Douglas County COVID-19 survivor speaks out about experience, vaccines

Chris McCullough was the sixth person in Douglas County to test positive for the new virus in March 2020.

Posted: Mar 11, 2021 5:46 PM
Updated: Mar 11, 2021 5:53 PM

ROSEBURG, Ore. – One year after being diagnosed with COVID-19, a Douglas County man is speaking out about how the virus changed his life.

Chris McCullough was the sixth person in Douglas County to test positive for the new virus in March 2020. He said he developed symptoms fast before he was admitted to the hospital.

“My lungs are damaged,” he said. “This crystalizing pneumonia that set in was obvious when I was admitted to the hospital. We watched it grow over my stay.”

He said he was treated at Mercy Medical Center in Roseburg for a week. He racked up $30,000 in medical bills and missed 42 days of work while he was recovering, all while his family watched helplessly.

“The week I was at the hospital, (my family) got respite,” said McCullough. “I felt when I was the hospital, it was a benefit for the family to give them the time to recover, to clean, to rest before my return. And we weren’t sure if I was returning.”

However, he said it pains him to know he wasn’t the only one who went through what he did.

“I regret not standing on that hospital roof shouting it to everyone this is real,” he said. “It can affect you, you can get sick, you can die, you can kill others.”

However, he said he is breathing a sigh of relief these days as he just got his COVID-19 vaccine.

Knowing what he went through, he hopes everyone chooses to get the shot when they have the option to.

“If we’re going to address this, we’re going to have to build up our immunity, the only way we can build up our immunity,” said McCullough. “The vaccination helps us with that in a safe way.”

Although vaccine rollout is full speed ahead in the state, he said he knows this isn’t the end of the road yet.

McCullough hopes people continue to wear a mask, socially distance and stay away from large gatherings until most of the population gets a shot in their arm.

“If I can encourage one person to get the vaccine, one person to mask up a little bit more, we can eventually get past this,” he said.

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