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Merit Health Natchez discharges first COVID-19 ventilator patient after nearly 80 days recovering

The Merit Health Natchez staff celebrated the discharge of one of its first COVID-19 survivors with a wall-to-wall cheering squad Wednesday.

The patient — whose name was not released — was wheeled out of the hospital carrying a sign saying “Hallelujah! I survived COVID-19!!!! Ain’t God Good!”

Since the virus outbreak, Merit Health has honored many of its COVID-19 survivors with a celebratory sendoff, including a red carpet, balloons and brightly decorated signs.

The hospital has released 33 COVID-19 patients since the pandemic started.

Merit Health CEO Lance Boyd said the patient was the hospital’s first COVID-19 ventilator patient. She was admitted to the hospital on March 22 and spent 33 days on a ventilator recovering from the virus.

After being taken off the ventilator, the patient was sent to a long-term local rehabilitation facility before returning to Merit Health Natchez for her final days in rehabilitation. Officials said the patient hadn’t been out of a hospital facility in nearly 80 days.

Officials said the patient’s father had also been admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 and was discharged before her daughter was able to leave the hospital. The father returned to Merit Health Wednesday to see his daughter’s sendoff.