After being hospitalized for more than 30 days, Southeast Health’s first COVID-19 patient — Jerome Ealey of Early County, Georgia — was released Wednesday morning.
As Ealey exited the elevator doors, he was greeted by doctors, nurses, and staff members holding signs of encouragement, cheering as he rolled down the hallway to meet his wife.
As Temonica Wesley-Ealey saw her husband for the first time in several weeks, she ran to his wheelchair with her facemask stretched as far as it could go with a big smile hiding underneath.
“Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus,” Temonica said. “Tomorrow would have been four weeks since I last seen my husband. But, thanks to the doctors and the nurses at Southeast Health, I knew my husband was being taken care of. Prayers have been answered, and we thank you Jesus.”
Ealey, still a little weak after battling the coronavirus and winning the war, was grateful to the doctors, nurses and staff at Southeast Health.
“This has been hard, very hard,” Ealey said. “A lot that occurred in the beginning I don’t remember, but this has been rough. I can’t thank everyone enough for helping me.”
The decision to seek treatment at Southeast Health was a decision his wife helped him make, Ealey said.
“She had confidence in this hospital, and she knew without a doubt I would be treated by a dedicated staff that would be in one accord, determined to treat with the best care, and that’s what I got here.”
The Ealeys thanked Dr. Walter Doty and the nurses for their dedicated care, treatment and endless words of encouragement he received during his hospitalization.
“He kept telling me not to give up, and, Doctor Doty, I did not give up,” Ealey said.
Temonica said being away from her husband was tough, but knowing he was being well taken care of made the situation a little easier.
“After I came in contact with the virus, I was tested and tested negative,” she said.
“However, out of extra precaution and for the safety of our children, I went into quarantine and our children just came home yesterday. So, without my husband and without my children at home, this has been extremely hard.
“But Doctor Doty kept in contact with me on a daily basis. I just can’t thank him and his nurses enough for what they did for my family.”
Ealey encourages anyone who displays symptoms of the coronavirus to seek testing immediately.
“The only symptoms I had was coughing and fever,” he said. “If you believe you have been in contact with someone who has the virus or if you are showing symptoms, go get tested. I believe being tested early is the key to fighting this disease.”