OCH Regional Medical Center’s first confirmed COVID-19 patient has been discharged from the hospital and is continuing to recover at home in isolation.

“I’m feeling okay,” said John Owens, as OCH COVID Unit Nurse Manager Jacob Leggett, RN, wheeled him out of the isolated lobby on Wednesday and helped him into his car.

“I want to thank the staff at OCH for saving John’s life,” said Jane Owens, the patient’s wife who has also tested positive for COVID-19 but has not experienced symptoms such as fever and shortness of breath.

“Everyone is expecting me to be real sick, and I feel fine. The Lord has been good to us,” said Jane Owens.

After being tested at a clinic on Wednesday, April 1, John Owens was admitted to OCH through the emergency room on Friday, April 3 for shortness of breath. Saturday morning, his test result came back as positive. As with all patients who are suspected to have COVID-19, Owens was placed in an isolation room and the staff followed CDC guidelines for personal protection equipment.

Because of OCH’s restricted visitation policy, Jane Owens was not able to visit her husband after he was admitted to the hospital.

“The doctors were right on top of it. They just took over and did a beautiful job. I can’t sing their praises enough,” stated Jane Owens.

While John Owens stated he had only been out of the house for essential shopping, his case is presumed to be community spread, which means the source of the infection is unknown.

As the number of patients being tested increases and confirmed cases rise, OCH Pulmonologist and Critical Care Specialist Dr. Cameron Huxford said he continues to consult with his colleagues in harder hit areas like Birmingham, New Orleans and Baton Rouge about treatment options and best practices.  

“At this time, Hydroxychloroquine, Azithromycin and Zinc have become the standard of care for hospitalized patients with COVID-19,” said Dr. Huxford. “We are continuing to gather information about this virus, and it’s important for everyone to continue to practice social distancing. Right now, that’s our best protection.”

In addition to social distancing, the CDC is now advising the use of cloth face coverings when going out in public to help slow the spread of the virus.

As of Friday, April 10, the Mississippi State Department of Health has confirmed 2,469 cases statewide, with 36 of those cases in Oktibbeha County. MSDH has reported a total of 82 COVID-related deaths, with one of those being in Oktibbeha County.

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