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'I am a COVID-19 survivor.' | Portsmouth man recovered from coronavirus in New York

James Smith is back home and fully recovered from the coronavirus, which he caught while visiting New York, one of the major virus epicenters in the U.S.

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — He tested positive for COVID-19 in New York, but now he's fully recovered and finally back home in Hampton Roads.

James Smith is from Portsmouth. His family lives there too.

On Thursday, he returned home to them after months working in New York.

However, this homecoming was different.

While in upstate New York, he tested positive for COVID-19. Smith spent seven days in an intensive care unit and two weeks quarantined.

“I was laying down to go to sleep that night and I could hardly breathe so I called 911,” said Smith. "Little did I know my oxygen levels were below 70 percent.”

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Smith described one of his toughest experiences in the hospital.

“They brought in two gentlemen that were COVID positive and both of those gentlemen passed away. Both of them, and they came a day after I did,” said Smith.

Smith encourages others who may have any doubts to go get tested.

“COVID is real. If you value life, take these warnings and these measures that are put in place for us, take them serious,” explained Smith.

Smith was not just fighting to stay alive for himself but for his wife and son.

“When I walked into the door and he saw me he said, 'Daddy daddy daddy!' That just warmed my heart because I could have been one of the two guys that passed away," Smith said.

Smith wants his story to bring truth and hope to others in an uncertain time.

“I am a COVID-19 survivor.”

Johns Hopkins University continues to track coronavirus data. They reported that more than 58,000 people in the United States have recovered from COVID-19 so far.

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