CAPE CORAL, Fla. (WINK) – A Florida woman hospitalized with COVID-19 says her battle has been lonely, scary and preventable. She says if she could go back in time, she would have gotten vaccinated.

When COVID-19 first began to spread around her Florida community, Shannon Ruvelas says you wouldn’t catch her without a mask and hand sanitizer, but for about the past four months, the 43-year-old had stopped taking all those precautions.

Ruvelas contracted the virus, and her symptoms became serious enough she needed to be admitted to Cape Coral Hospital recently. She felt healthy before she got it, but now, taking a couple steps knocks the wind out of her.

“It is something that’s out there trying to kill people,” Ruvelas said. “There’s young people down there that are sick. There’s skinny people. I’m like, ‘Oh, he shouldn’t be sick with COVID. He looks really healthy.’”

Now that she is personally experiencing the effects of COVID-19, she is thinking much differently.

“It’s changed me for life. It’s changed my perspective. Why? Because it scares you,” Ruvelas said.

There’s one thing she wishes she did before she found herself in the hospital.

“If I could change my mind and go back again, I would get the vaccine,” Ruvelas said. “I was against the vaccine the entire time. But then about five days ago, before I came in here, when I felt as sick as I did before I came in, I had wished I had gotten the vaccine.”

Ruvelas says her care has been wonderful, but the staff is overwhelmed.

“You see the suffering of the nurses, the doctors, the people downstairs in the waiting room when you’re waiting,” Ruvelas said. “I waited eight hours to get to an emergency doctor. But they know what they’re doing.”

The 43-year-old hopes to get out of the hospital soon. Doctors treated her with the drug remdesivir, which she says saved her life.

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