The first person in Oregon to test positive for coronavirus — a school custodian from Hillsboro — has recovered enough to leave the hospital with the apparent help of an experimental drug treatment and the promise of a mariachi band send-off.
Hector Calderon, 46, who works at Forest Hills Elementary School in Lake Oswego, was transferred Monday from Kaiser Permanente Westside Medical Center in Hillsboro to a skilled nursing facility, where he is expected to continue recuperating.
Calderon was the second patient in the country known at the time to contract the virus through community spread. Calderon lives in Hillsboro and tested positive Feb. 28.
Calderon first had symptoms Feb. 19. One of his family members at the time also was diagnosed with coronavirus and was quarantined at home. The Forest Hills School community launched a GoFundMe to support Calderon and his family.
Hospital officials said Calderon also was among the first to be treated with Remdesivir, an antiviral medication being tested as treatment for the illness, but offered no other details.
He was on a ventilator during his hospitalization, they said.
He now requires oxygen when he exerts himself and “still has some work to do and his long-term prognosis is unknown since this is a new virus,” said Dr. Sahra Rahimtoola, a Kaiser physician who helped treat Calderon.
Kaiser announced Calderon’s release one day after his discharge.
Kaiser said an ICU nurse, Chad Cabe, motivated Calderon during his recovery with the promise of a mariachi band and parade. On Monday, as Calderon was released from the hospital, a mariachi band played outside while staff lined the hallways. Members of his church also came to wish him well, the hospital said.
During his treatment, Calderon asked about students and staff at Forest Hills and issued a message to the school community through the hospital this week:
“I would just like to let you know I miss you so much. Thank you for your support to me and my family. God bless you and I will see you soon.”
— Noelle Crombie; firstname.lastname@example.org; 503-276-7184; @noellecrombie