CHICAGO (WLS) -- Two relatively young patients who beat COVID-19 were released from Roseland Community Hospital to cheers from hospital staff.
Medical staff at the hospital on Chicago's Far South Side know all too well of the tragedy of coronavirus, but they celebrated a little success as some of their recovered patients returned home Friday.
It's a day Levan Herron hoped would come.
"I would like to thank all of them for helping me and being there for me," Herron said.
Staff cheered and applauded as the 34-year-old Chicago man and another recovered COVID-19 patient were cleared to go home after they each spent nearly a month hospitalized.
"My whole body just shutdown," said Marie Perkins. "The bad headaches, my joints were locking up and everything. It just got worse."
The 39-year-old mother of three said she thinks she contracted the virus after coming in contact with an individual who was caring for someone with COVID-19.
"There are so many different organ systems affected by the virus, including the kidneys, brain, young people having strokes," said Roseland Hospital Dr. Khurram Khan.
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin attended the celebration, and once again expressed concerns about the racial disparities in COVID-19 cases in the Chicago area.
"If we are going to move beyond where we are today, shelter in place, staying at home, opening up this economy, testing is absolutely essential," Durbin said.
According to local health department officials, nearly 70% of all positive COVID-19 cases in Chicago are African American patients. So far, Roseland Hospital said it has performed more than 10,000 antibody and virus tests through its drive-thru COVID-19 facility.
"Health care has been divested in communities like Roseland over decades," said Roseland Hospital CEO Tim Egan. "We are sitting here as we speak, fighting for funding just to stay open."
The happiness the staff felt as patients went home is short-lived. They said they still need more testing, especially in black and brown neighborhoods.
COVID-19 survivors released from Roseland Community Hospital to cheers from staff