COVID-19 survivor speaks about his experience with the deadly illness

Joel Clark says that he contracted COVID-19 after picking up his step-father-in-law from a local rehabilitation facility.

Posted: Dec 1, 2020 6:08 PM
Updated: Dec 2, 2020 6:59 AM

MEDFORD, Ore. -- A Gold Hill man says he contracted coronavirus after picking up his step-father-in-law from Avamere Three Fountains in Medford.

Joel Clark's 90-year-old step-father-in-law Melvin Olson, who lives in Prineville, Oregon was in a car accident on Highway 62 near Prospect. He was transported to Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center Emergency where he learned that he had two fractured ribs and a fractured wrist. The doctors were concerned that once released from the hospital he would need rehab for his ribs in order to avoid pneumonia.

On October 20, Olson was transferred to Avamere at Three Fountains for rehab. Clark was told Olson would be in quarantine for 14 days to avoid bringing COVID-19 into the facility.


RELATED: Gold Hill family addresses concerns about Avamere COVID-19 outbreak


Three days later, Clark was informed that two staff at Avamere had tested positive for COVID-19, and as a result Melvin would be "isolated" and tested for COVID-19 and would keep family informed if the test was positive.

Clark says he was given no additional information related to COVID-19 by Avamere during Olson's stay.

On November 2, Avamere contacted Clark for Olson's pick-up scheduled for November 5. Clark said no mention of COVID was made.

"We assumed when he was released that we didn't have to worry about masks and we spent quite a bit of time with him," said Clark. A short time later, he came down with the virus, his first symptom being a fever.

Clark spent ten days at Providence Medford Medical Center — three of them in the Intensive Care Unit — and he does not think he would be alive without the efforts of the medical staff. He said, "they have converted whole hallways to be used for COVID patients."

Clark was able to return home in time for Thanksgiving. He and Olson are now recovering from from their illness.

During his stay at Providence, Clark says because he was so well taken care of in the hospital, his faith in the community has been restored. He emphasized his gratitude for Providence staff calling them "real angels".

Though he says he feels himself improving, Clark is using an oxygen source to assist with breathing. He said severe pneumonia can be caused by the virus, which is an infection filling the lungs with liquid making it difficult to breathe. Keeping a person on oxygen long enough at the hospital, is what Clark says, helps you "fight it off".

Clark said he was surprised by how quickly the virus can progress. He said, "I went from being able to walk around with only a little loss of breath to lying on my back desperately fighting for air in a matter of eight hours...if you have COVID and you're day, 5,6,7,8 with symptoms and you find that you have a cough or wheezing or getting up and walking a hundred feet makes you a little extra tired, if you walk a little slower, get to a hospital immediately because you could be dead in 2 days."

Clark expressed his gratitude again for those on the front lines saying, "they risk their lives everyday to save us."

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 131258

Reported Deaths: 1758
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah28030454
Washington18386166
Marion15972233
Clackamas11499135
Lane8127107
Jackson680682
Umatilla664167
Deschutes484633
Yamhill313945
Malheur311851
Linn306542
Polk238938
Klamath236634
Josephine168931
Jefferson167525
Benton165913
Douglas165043
Union109516
Wasco105123
Columbia101518
Lincoln97317
Hood River93521
Coos92614
Morrow91910
Clatsop6614
Crook5859
Baker5515
Tillamook3572
Curry3175
Lake2285
Grant2131
Harney1684
Wallowa943
Gilliam471
Sherman470
Wheeler191
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2916309

Reported Deaths: 32851
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles98992813489
San Bernardino2450331560
Riverside2338992517
San Diego2068702037
Orange2059112277
Santa Clara899831040
Kern82398551
Sacramento791371062
Fresno79033904
Alameda64760768
Ventura57941401
San Joaquin55580738
Contra Costa49759410
Stanislaus41270730
Tulare39723494
Monterey34482248
San Mateo30694294
San Francisco28200241
Imperial24882463
Solano24654105
Merced23199290
Santa Barbara23184223
Sonoma22910234
Kings18453110
Placer16761173
San Luis Obispo14851125
Madera12778130
Santa Cruz11583111
Marin11244149
Yolo10097131
Shasta9594117
Butte9127120
Sutter743976
El Dorado739441
Napa711738
Lassen506713
San Benito477843
Yuba476626
Tehama391742
Tuolumne327936
Nevada307571
Mendocino305531
Amador294029
Lake237828
Humboldt226324
Glenn179819
Colusa16849
Calaveras151322
Siskiyou138812
Mono10804
Inyo88327
Del Norte8442
Plumas5735
Modoc3783
Mariposa3414
Trinity2994
Alpine730
Sierra690
Unassigned00
Medford
Mostly Cloudy
46° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 46°
Brookings
Partly Cloudy
48° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 48°
Medford
Cloudy
46° wxIcon
Hi: 44° Lo: 23°
Feels Like: 46°
Medford
Cloudy
46° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 46°
Klamath Falls
Cloudy
33° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 33°
Peeks of Saturday sunshine
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events