A COVID-19 patient at East Alabama Medical Center on Sunday became the first to improve well enough to be removed from a ventilator.
In a video posted to the Opelika hospital’s Facebook page, hospital staff line a hallway and cheer 48-year-old Tony Thornton as he is wheeled from the ICU to a regular hospital room.
Thornton, who lives in Auburn, was admitted to EAMC on March 20 and intubated, the hospital said in a statement Tuesday.
Thornton was removed from a ventilator on Sunday and was moved to a regular room Tuesday, according to the hospital.
“I am still weak, but feeling pretty good. I talked to my wife for the first time and that was wonderful,” Thornton said Tuesday, according to the hospital. “People need to follow the guidelines. This is a big deal.”
In addition to Thornton’s improvements, 29 other hospitalized COVID-19 patients have been discharged from EAMC.
As of Tuesday evening, there were 2,197 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alabama and 64 reported deaths from the virus, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health. There have been a total of 271 COVID-19 hospitalizations statewide.