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Building engineer has been transferred to a rehabilitation center after months of battling virus

COURTESY PHOTO: KAISER PERMANENTE NORTHWEST - Hector Calderon, the building engineer for Forest Hills Elementary, was the first person in Oregon to test positive for COVID-19. On Tuesday, he was finally released from the hospital.

Months after he tested positive for COVID-19, Forest Hills employee Hector Calderon is on his way to recovery.

Calderon was the first person in Oregon to test positive for COVID-19 back in late February, and he moved to a rehabilitation center this week after more than two months in the hospital.

In a letter to Forest Hills families, Principal Patrick Shuckerow thanked the community for all the care they showed to Calderon, the school's building engineer.

"Your ongoing messages of support have been a comfort for Hector and his family," Shuckerow said.

Shuckerow said the transfer to the rehabilitation center was a heartfelt moment for everyone — including the medical professionals who cared for him through treatment.

"This has been a remarkable journey. His courage, strength and resilience throughout has been an inspiration," said Katie Sharff, MD. Sharff is an infectious disease specialist at Kaiser Permanente, and a parent of a student at Forest Hills. "It was such a joy to see his clinical improvement and hear him asking about students and teachers at the school."

Calderon was among the first patients in the nation to be treated with Remdesivir, a broad-spectrum antiviral medication with Emergency Use Authorization for those hospitalized with COVID-19.

"We are so happy for Hector and his family, so thankful to the heroic medical workers, and so grateful to be a part of this community," Shuckerow said.

Calderon will need to work with physical therapists at the rehabilitation center to regain his strength. He uses some oxygen when he exerts himself, said Sahra Rahimtoola, MD. "Our hope is that he will have a full recovery, but he still has some work to do and long-term prognosis is unknown since this is a new virus," she said.

If anyone in the community wishes to send Calderon a card, they can drop it off during supply pickup on May 14.

A GoFundMe account has been set up by members of the Forest Hills Elementary community to help with the hospital expenses.


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