Coronavirus News: Man released from New Jersey hospital after 22 days on respirator

SECAUCUS, New Jersey (WABC) -- A man was discharged from a hospital in New Jersey after he spent 22 days on a ventilator while battling COVID-19.

Pedro Gonzalez was released this week. He was the first COVID-19 patient to be put on a respirator at Hudson Regional Hospital in Secaucus.

"There are not enough words to express how grateful I am for the staff at Hudson Regional Hospital. From the moment I arrived there, everyone was very helpful," Gonzalez said. "I don't remember much of what really happened to me, but what I do know is that the doctors and nurses never gave up on me and helped me get back home to my family. With all my heart I want to say thank you to everyone at Hudson regional hospital for all their hard work and dedication and for keeping me alive. God bless you all."

Hudson Regional is also marking another milestone.

The hospital reported that the number of discharged COVID-19 patients has rapidly increased over the past two weeks and the percentage of COVID-19 related admissions has decreased by 80%.

Hudson Regional Hospital, in collaboration with Hudson County and the Hudson County Department of Health, are also preparing a program to administer the antibody tests to begin upon guidance from the CDC.

Hudson County also reported that the drive-through testing site at the Hospital is testing one resident every 1.7 seconds and that the number of calls to county COVID-19 screening centers has been decreasing over the past two weeks.

"While we continue to treat COVID-19 patients in an isolated unit and our drive-through testing site will remain open, all other departments at the hospital are ready for resumption of business," President and CEO for Hudson Regional Hospital Dr. Nizar Kifaieh said. "We're fully staffed to address all the community's healthcare needs with some units having no staff cross-over to make sure we keep certain areas clean from COVID-19 exposure, and the staff in those units are tested regularly."

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