BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – While many people who test positive for COVID-19 have mild symptoms and recover at home, some others can end up hospitalized for weeks. That was the situation for one of the first cases in Boulder County.
Matt Wolvington is a Longmont resident and the General Manager of the Outback Saloon in Boulder. Lately, he’s been sharing the story of his battle with COVID-19, as well as the subsequent complications, more often to inquiring customers.
“I’m just grateful and thankful and happy that I’m still here,” Wolvington said.
His COVID-19 experience started in March when he experienced a fever, and days later lost his sense of taste and smell. A week later, he started experiencing shortness of breath and was eventually hospitalized. Doctors said he had COVID-19 and pneumonia.
“I had a fever, those symptoms, for a total of 16 days,” he said. “After day six in the hospital, I was then asymptomatic for three days and I went home.
Wolvington’s experience didn’t stop there. About two and a half weeks later, he went to the hospital again after he felt a pop in his chest and started coughing up blood.
“I had a hydropneumothorax, which is basically fluid in-between your ribcage and your lung, along with an abscess on my lung, which was not there two weeks before when I was in the hospital,” Wolvington said.
He was put on antibiotics, but weeks later he was still having issues. Eventually, Dr. Franco Rea, a thoracic surgeon who works at Longmont United Hospital and St. Anthony Hospital within the Centura Health system, removed the abscess and part of the lung.
“I’ve seen a lot of abscesses in the lungs or cavities in the lungs from different pneumonia or what we call necrotizing infections,” Rea said. “This was a bit unusual, and probably a very unusual case, particularly when you think as COVID as sort of a systemic disease infecting the entire person. This was isolated to one spot in the lung.”
Months later, Wolvington has recovered and only experiences some shortness of breath occasionally.
As COVID-19 spreads across every community, including his own, he hopes people will listen to his story and take safety measures, such as mask wearing and social distancing, seriously.
“This story isn’t about me, it’s about what could happen,” He said. “There are thousands of people that would trade to have my scar to have their life.”