At 104 years old, Carmen Hernández became the longest-lived Colombian to overcome COVID-19 for the second time. On April 5, the doctors said goodbye to her amid applause and a street of honor celebrating her recovery after 21 days of hospitalization.
Despite her advanced age, Carmen did not require a bed in the Intensive Care Unit to overcome the virus. In June 2020 – the first time he was infected – he overcame the disease in the geriatric home where he has lived for 25 years; Then, in March 2021, she was treated in the intermediate care area of the San Rafael University Hospital in Tunja, the capital of the Boyacá department, two hours from Bogotá.
“It was the second COVID infection, so the complications were much more difficult to manage. At some point we decided to endure the intubation a little with the satisfactory news that the woman never had a requirement for mechanical ventilation, but with high flow (oxygen) ”, explained the internist Ricardo Morera to the press on Tuesday.
Carmen left the hospital in a capsule made of plastic as a protection measure against the virus and was transferred in an ambulance to the San José geriatric home, a non-profit organization where she lives with 83 other women and a man. Before the pandemic, Carmen received visits from her daughter, who is around 70 years old and is also a population at risk.
“Here we were all very happy that Carmen returned. The other residents also love her very much because she is the oldest of all. It was a miracle for his age, ”Gina Gómez Araque, a senior nurse at the nursing home, told The Associated Press on Thursday.
Carmen was born on July 14, 1916 in Tunja and has not only survived COVID-19: she also overcame nose cancer more than 25 years ago. He is now in a wheelchair and eats mainly liquids.
“It was a very strong work by the scientific team, the respiratory therapy team and others, in which we sang victory,” Yamit Noe Hurtado, manager of the San Rafael de Tunja University Hospital, told the press on Tuesday.
After Carmen, the San José nursing home received another of its centennial residents recovered from COVID-19, her name is Eva Leiva and she is 103 years old. In Colombia, the oldest people who have overcome the coronavirus are women, according to public data from the National Institute of Health. Another 94 patients between the ages of 100 and 101 have also done so throughout the pandemic.
Carmen received the first dose of the virus vaccine on February 26, however, she was infected again before receiving the second dose. The vaccination plan in Colombia has prioritized health personnel and adults over 60 years of age in its initial phases.
According to the Ministry of Health, the confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Colombia exceed 2.4 million and 2.6 million people have been vaccinated, most with a single dose of the two required in the vaccines of Pfizer, Sinovac and AstraZeneca.