After eight days of ICU and follow-up care in an isolation room designated and equipped for COVID-19 treatment at Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville, Greg Richie has been discharged and has now returned home to Toccoa.
Richie contacted ConnectLocal this afternoon at approximately 3 p.m., saying he wanted to let the community know how much he appreciated their prayers and support, and that he is feeling better.
Although tired from the past week in the hospital and still dealing with the impact of COVID-19 on his existing health conditions, Richie said he is glad to be home.
“They wont let you sleep (at the hospital), they come in all times of the night and stick you with needles and draw blood and constantly taking your blood pressure,” he said. “It was OK the first couple nights because I had to have that, I was in pretty rough shape, but after that, it was just tiring.”
Richie’s last COVID-19 test was administered on Monday, he said, and no results from that test have ben returned from the lab yet, but the medical staff at the Georgia Health System’s Northeast Georgia Medical Center told him this morning that they would be discharging him today, and advised him to self-quarantine at home for another four to five days.
“They (the hospital) needs the room, and I was over the hard part,” he said of the reason he was discharged today. “I’m not going anywhere,” he said about the process for self-quarantine. “I don’t want anyone else to have this (disease); I’m worn out and tired – by the time I drove home, I was thinking it might have been a mistake getting out of the hospital, but after I got in the house and rested a bit I started feeling better, I’m just down on my strength a little.”
Friends and family members have already organized a support effort for Richie, making sure he has the medicines, food and supplies needed while he shelters in place at his home.
Richie said he felt it was important to inform the community that he was now home, and on the road to recovery from COVID-19.
“There have been a lot of people on Facebook praying for me and a lot of people know me from the produce stand and they are concerned about me,” he told ConnectLocal. “I want them to know I’m doing better and am home; I don’t think anybody is holding me accountable for this. I just happened to be the one at the wrong place and wrong time.”
Hospital medical staff advised Richie, upon his discharge, to self-quarantine for four to five days after his discharge.
“For me not to quarantine myself now would be stupid, I know what I have,” he said. “The doctors said four to five days, so I figure through this weekend. If I do that, I’ll be outside that time period, but I want to get those negative results back before I go back out anywhere near the public, and even after that I am going to do things a little differently than I used to.”
Along with help from the citizens in terms of their prayers and support, Richie said he knows his recovery comes from a “higher source.”
“There should be something good that comes out or every bad thing, and I know that I pulled through because of the Lord’s help,” he said. “He is in charge of everything.”