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It takes a team of health care workers to help recovering COVID-19 patients who often take months to get better

By Vawn Himmelsbach

As the first wave of the pandemic escalated in spring, Markham became York Region’s hot spot with 22 per cent of the Region’s COVID-19 cases. And some of Ontario’s highest numbers of COVID-19 patients were treated in MSH’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

MSH responded by opening an on-site COVID-19 Assessment Centre. Up until October 13, the hospital had tested over 40,000 people, confirming 1,240 positive cases and admitting 126 patients. Of those, 30 per cent were sent to the ICU; 28 per cent of admitted patients were intubated, spending an average of 19 days on a ventilator.

Some patients, however, spend much longer rehabilitating in hospital — and their recovery process is still far from over. One of those patients is Frank Scali. In mid-March, Frank’s wife and one of his sons began experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. Shortly afterward, Frank came down with a fever, accompanied by body aches. A few days later, he was drying off after a shower when his legs gave out and he fell to the floor.

“I remember coming out of the shower and within seconds I fell to the floor. I had no strength in my arms or my legs to lift myself up, and I was lucky that my wife and one of my sons were here,” says the 75-year old Markham resident. His wife, Alfonsa, immediately called 911.

“I remember talking to the ambulance attendant and I remember being taken into the hospital and that is all that I remember,” says Frank. The next month and a half are absent from his memory.

Read Frank's full story.