Breath ‘Stopped in My Chest': Rancho Peñasquitos Man Shares His Coronavirus Story

Ken Ramirez wants his case to educate others on importance of following stay at home orders and protecting health care system.

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Ken Ramirez says it all started with a lost sense of taste and smell. Then, there was a massive sinus headache and fatigue. That was then followed by a 102 degree fever.

But a few days later, Ramirez started to feel better. Or so he thought.

“I woke up Monday morning (March 30). My head, the pressure, was gone. So I was thinking 'Alright, I’ve turned the corner,'" Ramirez said. "I went to take a shower and in the shower, I started to pass out."

Ramirez, who lives in Rancho Peñasquitos, says he began to suffer from shortness of breath.

“Oddly enough, if I breathed in through my mouth, I could get a pretty good lung of air. But if I breathed in through my nose, it just stopped in my chest, and I’d start to cough,” said Ramirez.

He was taken to Scripps Green Hospital in La Jolla, where he would spend the next 5-days isolated with COVID-19.  He was immediately given an IV and two liters of oxygen for two days.

Ramirez says health care workers took expected safeguards, like wearing a fresh set of gloves and masks each time they walked into the room.

“In the hospital, those people are working their tails off -- all of them. They’re working hard and need our support any way we can give it," Ramirez said. "Part of that is obeying social rules."

Ramirez was released from the hospital last Saturday and was given a letter from the San Diego Public Health Department ordering him to stay isolated until his symptoms subside. He plans to stay alone in his bedroom for at least the next four days.

San DIego County Coronavirus Isolation Notice
Ken Ramirez/NBC 7
County of San Diego isolation order after coronavirus diagnosis

“I walk around, I do a lot of flexing. They did tell me, when I have the ability to go outside with nobody else, to do it. So three times a day I’m heading outside walking laps doing some pushups, doing whatever to just try to keep things flowing,” said Ramirez.

He’s also mindful of another family member who has an underlying medical condition. But as a science teacher, he’s also taking a clinical approach to the situation.

“The bottom line is everybody’s body chemistry is different, so everybody reacts differently. We’re all going to get it and some people will have a natural resistance; some people are going to be mildly ill; some people, it’s going to come at with a vengeance,” said Ramirez.

Ramirez says he doesn’t know for sure how he contracted the disease but he’s using the moment to implore others to abide by the "Stay at Home" orders, if for no other reason than to help the health care system.

“The mandate to get everybody to stay inside is to keep the numbers (of people) going to our health facilities manageable," Ramirez said. People need to understand that."

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