Nevada’s first confirmed COVID-19 patient talks journey and recovery one year later

Coronavirus

NORTH LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — One year ago today (March 2), Nevada’s first confirmed COVID-19 patient, also known as patient zero, was admitted to the hospital. When Ronald pipkins arrived at the VA, the thought of possibly having the coronavirus did not even cross his mind.

One year later, he has a message for others.

“I think of those days leading up [to] going to the hospital,” Pipkins said.

In Feb. 2020, Pipkins went on a trip with his family to Washington. During his trip, the symptoms started to hit him.

“I had no taste, the actual last night I was there in Washington — Seattle,” Pipkins said. “I had shivers, [and] I did not know what was up.”

But it wasn’t until he returned home to Las Vegas when things got worse.

On March 2, he went to the VA Hospital.

“After being there an hour, they said my oxygen level was very low,” Pipkins said.

He was put in a coma as doctors worked to figure out what was wrong.

“That was the last I remembered until the end of March,” said Pipkins.

Pipkins was diagnosed with COVID-19. He did not get out of the hospital until April.

“Thank goodness the governor put the restrictions in place that he did because if he wouldn’t have so many people in the State of Nevada would have died,” Pipkins said.

Last week Pipkins received the COVID-19 vaccine.

“My daughter went through so much pain seeing her dad laying in a coma,” he said. “I said to myself, ‘for my family, I’ll do it’.”

With three vaccines available, he hopes more people get their shot.

“I wasn’t given an opportunity to safeguard myself from this virus, we all have that opportunity now, and so we all come together as a nation we can get rid of this virus and get on with our lives,” Pipkins said.

Pipkins also thanked the staff and medical professionals at the VA hospital, who he says saved his life.

Pipkins is writing a book about this experience and his fight with COVID-19.

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