Coronavirus survivor, a Filipino filmmaker, documents his ordeal

QUEENS, NY — Across the nation, a glimmer of hope as nearly 20,000 patients have been able to recover from the disease.

Among them is Fil-Am filmmaker Steven de Castro, who tested positive for COVID-19 on March 31st.

Like any filmmaker, he did what he does best — documenting his ordeal.

It began with his admission at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens — the epicenter of New York’s coronavirus outbreak.

De Castro said getting those tests were not easy – as dozens of COVID patients were waiting in line to get the same test at the same time.

After getting the test, De Castro said the emergency room was so packed, there wasn’t much space in between him and another patient.

“They stacked so many patients into this corner, that they locked me into the corner, and it’s impossible for nurses and doctors to access my bed — which means I’m not getting any medical care, I haven’t gotten my vitals taken in the last 5 hours. I haven’t been given my medicine even longer than that.”

After a path was cleared, De Castro said, he did get the much-needed care at the ER.

“I’m going home today, partially thanks to those folks who helped me out online, because since I got my regular care, they were able to control the fever, so although I still have COVID-19, I’m not in supplemental oxygen, and don’t need further meds.”

De Castro is now recovering while quarantined at his own home – just minutes away from the hospital.

“There does not seem to be any scientific data to say why I did not receive the worst symptoms than other people. Even at my worst,  I was still one of the healthiest people in the hospital there’s nothing to do with my age, my health, anything else because statistically that’s just not played out.”

De Castro said that while it wasn’t clear how he got infected, but what’s certain is that everyone has to do their part to win this battle against COVID 19.

“So COVID is the first disease that’s a real wake up call to the world, that to think about your health, you have to think in terms of the community first.”

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  • Marlon Esguerra
    20 April 2020 at 2:09 pm - Reply

    Hmm. I also was admitted to Elmhurst Hospital ER after a chest x-ray at CityMD revealed lungs that looked like a CoVid-19-infected patient. I was sent to Elmhurst ER in an ambulance on 4/8/20. I saw no lines and wasn’t aware they were doing CoVid-19 testing before admittance. En route, I saw no lines. I was placed in B-wing ER, which was at 300% capacity (60people vs. 20people). Was your experience the same? Did you witness roughly 30people die each day as I did? So traumatizing. After 48hours, I had made it through to being transferred to a regular, non-ICU hospital floor. ICU was strictly for those requiring intubations or ventilators, which we know had little chance of survival at that point. I asked all of at least a dozen different nurses who took care of me and none of them has been tested. They said there were no kits available. Maybe they were reserved for the ER & ICU doctors and nurses? In any case, from one Queens resident and survivor to another, thank God we made it out alive. What a harrowing experience!