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Naples woman off ventilator after getting plasma donation for COVID-19

A woman in Naples is off a ventilator after her children found a plasma match from a recovered coronavirus patient.

Absolutely elated,” said Jennifer Grytza, daughter of COVID-19 patient Virigina Bennett. “We’re so excited that she can breathe on her own.”

Even though Virgina is breathing on her own, she has a long road ahead of her still in her recovery from COVID-19.

Grytza has fond memories of dancing with her mom, Virginia, last year. But her mother’s moves in her hospital bed she’ll never forget.

“She was moving as best she could,” Grytza said. “She can’t really move very well. But she was dancing in the bed, and the nurse exclaimed, ‘Oh, my god, I can’t believe she sitting there, and she’s dancing, and she’s dancing to this music.’”

We first told you about Virginia’s fight with COVID-19 last month, and her childrens’ search for a plasma donor. The plasma is part of a clinical trial that uses antibodies from a recovered patient to fight the virus.

“She did get a donation of convalescent plasma,” said Jeff Bennett, Virgina’s son. “Last week, the doctor started pushing her, doing different breathing trials and guiding her to the point where she was breathing more on her own.”

Without the ventilator.

“She’s now talking on her own,” Jeff said. “She asks us questions.”

They say they can’t be certain the plasma helped. But “I don’t think it hurt anything,” Jeff said.

Virgina’s children say their mother still tests positive for COVID-19, but they’re encouraging people who have recovered from the virus to donate plasma. Both Lee Health and NCH Healthcare System are part of the plasma donor trial.

The siblings say it’s a step in the right direction, but their mother’s fight is far from over.

“The next steps are to regain her strength. She’s very weak,” Jeff said. “It’s probably going to be a long road to recovery, but it’s a road that we are now starting on. Two weeks, ago we didn’t even know this road was gonna be available.”

Reporter:Brea Hollingsworth
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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