WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — 22 days at United Regional Health Care System and 5 more in the Rathgeber Hospitality house is how long Yvell’e Ray was away from her family and her New York home after testing positive for COVID-19.
She was the first hospitalized COVID-19 patient in Wichita County and the fourth positive case.
“People don’t believe anything until it hits home,” Ray said.
Ray wasn’t supposed to be working on Mon. March 16, but the flight attendant from New York City was called in.
She didn’t realize that one day trip would turn into nearly a month.
“Once we started flying, the cough persisted and I’m thinking ‘what is this.’” Ray said.
Ray’s flight was planned to take off the next night, but it was cancelled.
The flight scheduled for the next morning, on Wednesday ended up being cancelled too.
At this point, her health was quickly declining.
She coughed all night in her hotel room and could hardly breathe.
Ray decided to call her flight captain to have an ambulance get her from the hotel.
AMR took Ray to United Regional.
“They tested me for everything, strep throat, pneumonia, Flu A and B and whatever else they tested me for and while I was there I was on oxygen and I remember them having the room and everybody was coming, it was different nurses and doctors and all of a sudden I see them putting papers on the window, closing the door, they’re putting on their PPE and I’m thinking ‘am I contagious? Is this what it’s all about?” Ray said.
She was ultimately tested for COVID-19 and two days later, on March 20th, her results came back.
“There is another confirmed coronavirus case in Wichita County, bringing the total to four and all are travel related,” Darrell Franklin said on KFDX-3 News at 6:00. “Here’s what we know so far, the latest case involves a 49-year-old patient,” Melanie Townsend added.
“I absolutely believe that God brought me there, to pull me away from here [NYC] because I wouldn’t have received the care that I received in Wichita [Falls],” Ray said.
Ray’s faith playing a large role in her 22-day hospital stay, then the five extra days at the Rathgaber Hospitality House.
She prayed daily for the doctors, nurses and people in Wichita Falls.
“On March 21st, one of the nurses said can we get you anything and I said ‘please please please let me just have a bible and they said ok no problem’ and they came back and they brought me this,” Ray said as she held up a bible. “From this point on, every time I fly out this will always come with me.”
After 10 Covid-19 tests, eight positive and finally two negative, Ray left the hospital, but it’s been more than a month since she arrived home in NYC and the virus’ effects linger.
“I’m constantly coughing, somedays are better than the others, and I have a headache,” Ray said.
For Ray, this hit home. She has a message for those who maybe haven’t directly felt the impact of COVID-19.
“Just be safe and don’t think that this is just a fly by night virus, because it’s not,” Ray said. “It came from somewhere, it came from somewhere so I just encourage everyone to stay safe, wash their hands, do what they say to do.”
She’s back in New York now with her family, but the people on her road to recovery hold a special place in her heart.
“I found a new family in Wichita [Falls] and they treated me as such,” Ray said.
Ray has been home since April 15, and she still does not feel comfortable leaving her house.
She plans to get back to the job she adores soon, but right now she continues to be extremely cautious around her family.