Chula Vista councilman recovering from COVD-19 speaks out

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CHULA VISTA, Calif. — Chula Vista City Councilman Steve Padilla opened up Thursday about his battle with coronavirus nearly one week after returning home from the hospital.

“When you’re on a ventilator or you’re intubated for that long, you lose muscle mass, you lose body strength, you literally kind of have some wasting because you’re not even using muscles you normally use,” Padilla told FOX 5. “So there’s some kind of relearning some things, kind of rebuilding, but I’m feeling stronger every day.”

Padilla lost 11 days of his life to an induced coma in the fight with the deadly coronavirus. The councilman says without aggressive medical steps taken by doctors at the UCSD Medical Center, he may not be here today.

“At the time of my intubation, I think the thinking was look, we’re not going to let you get that critical,” Padilla said. “We are going to intervene earlier and let your body spend all of its energy fighting the virus instead of trying to fight to breathe.”

Padilla says he’s not sure where he contracted the virus, but he had been traveling for his work with the California Coastal Commission.

“Interestingly, I had been through the San Jose Airport where, apparently, at about the same time I had come through the airport, there were TSA folks at that airport who tested positive,” the councilman said.

As Padilla woke up to a world changed, he was overwhelmed by a sense of gratitude for being able to be wheeled out of the hospital.

“I’m very proud of I think the work the governor did on this frankly and I’m very proud to be from California,” Padilla said. “I think we did some good things. We may well have saved some lives.”

Padilla echoed officials’ recommendations that people wear masks when they leave their homes.

“We have to be responsible for one another and to one another I think as a community,” Padilla said. “We have to respect one another’s health. This is not a joke. This is not a hoax. This is real and it’s deadly and it’s taking lives.”

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