Lakeland couple battling COVID-19 set to be released from hospital after plasma infusion

A Lakeland couple battling COVID-19 is finally feeling some relief after receiving a plasma infusion as part of a nationwide trial to see if transfusions can help treat coronavirus patients.

Days of severe pain, body aches and cold chills are now part of the past for Eduardo Juarez and his wife Christine.

"It was the first time we actually began to feel like ourselves somewhat," Juarez said.

Both received convalescent plasma infusions after testing positive for COVID-19.

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"Imagine the worst flu you ever had and exemplify that by 100 times,” Juarez explained. “It was just absolutely the most uncomfortable. The most painful.”

He and his wife tried to fight off the virus quarantined at home, but symptoms only got worse. On May 16, they were admitted to Lakeland Regional Medical Center, placed in different rooms and were unable to see each other.

"It meant a lot just to see her smile because last time I saw her she was getting wheeled into her room on her bed," Juarez said.

Days later, both received a convalescent plasma infusion. It's part of a nationwide trial by the Mayo Clinic to see if blood transfusions can help treat COVID-19 patients. Juarez and his wife are just two of eight people at the hospital who received the treatments.

"I just want to ring from the rooftops,” Juarez exclaimed. “First of all, I want to thank God for his grace and also for the people. Go get your blood tested.”

The plasma being used is provided though OneBlood and donated by people who've recovered from the virus. Juarez is a father of three and a husband celebrating 33 years of marriage next month. He's now hoping both he and his wife can pay it forward and donate their plasma once they recover.

"To be the first two to receive this treatment what an absolute honor that was,” Juarez said. “It saved our lives.”

After nearly two weeks in the hospital, Juarez and his wife are set to be released from the hospital Thursday.

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