By Rick Sallinger

GOLDEN, Colo. (CBS4)– This past weekend more than 90 people were admitted to Colorado hospitals for COVID-19. That brings the total hospitalized in the state to nearly 800 people.

(credit: CBS)

That count no longer includes Bill Phillips of Golden. He was released last week after months of hospitalization.

“I feel very lucky to be alive, like I have a second chance at life,” he told CBS4’s Rick Sallinger.

Phillips didn’t think he needed to be vaccinated. A fitness coach, he had COVID-19 once — and the antibodies that come with it — then it hit him again.

“I was there for 60 days, on a ventilator 47 days, in a coma three weeks,” but he doesn’t remember most of it.

Hospitalizations of patients with COVID-19 were dropping. Now they’re climbing again. More than 800 were hospitalized in March of last year, then way up to nearly 2,000 in December. It had gone down to about 300 last month but things have jumped in August.

(credit: Bill Phillips)

If you haven’t been vaccinated, Dr. Michael Roshon of Centura Health warns that you should assume you are going to get the virus. Roshon is an emergency room physician and vice president of physician residency and research operations.

“You get to choose: do you want to get this after you’ve been vaccinated or before? And we know that getting the vaccination first is the right way to go.”

He points out more than 90% hospitalized with COVID-19 are unvaccinated, like Bill Phillips.

His wife, Maria, who was at the hospital 24 hours a day for months said, “He was more than likely going to die, so I think it was truly a miracle that he survived this.”

(credit: CBS)

Her husband Bill has a strong message for those who were like him.

“Get vaccinated, don’t screw around, don’t risk what it can do to you. It can cost you your life,” said Phillips who is now looking forward to a second chance at life.

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Rick Sallinger