UPDATE: Republic man with COVID-19 dies

REPUBLIC, Mich. (WLUC) - UPDATE on Monday, April 6:

Gary Johnson of Republic received a positive test result for COVID-19 on March 28. He was hospitalized on April 1 and died April 5. (Gary Johnson Photo)

The Republic man who tested positive for COVID-19 last month has died.

Gary Johnson died Sunday at UP Health System-Marquette, his wife Kathy said.

He did two interviews with TV6 & FOX UP after he received his positive test result on March 28. In the beginning, Johnson said he felt fine but battled a dry, hacking cough off and on with a periodic fever. His symptoms got more severe, and he was taken to the hospital on April 1 and put on a ventilator.

The message from Johnson's family: The virus is very serious. Don't take any chances. Stay home as much as possible.

At this time, this is the fourth reported COVID-19 death in Upper Michigan and the second in Marquette County. There are 32 reported cases right now.

This story will be updated when more information is available.

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UPDATE on Wednesday, April 1:

TV6 & FOX UP report a lot of information to viewers each day about the coronavirus (COVID-19).

It's the numbers the public hears, but behind the numbers are real people. TV6 is updating this story, as Gary Johnson is now in the hospital in Marquette. TV6 did a couple of interviews this week with Johnson at home, about being infected with COVID-19.

This information is from his wife, Kathy, who with doctors and Gary, want this message out to the public.

Stay home.

Gary was taken to UP Health System - Marquette overnight with breathing problems and now he is on a ventilator.

His nurses tell Kathy, Gary is doing okay.

The message from doctors, Gary and Kathy to the public, is stay home. This virus is extremely serious for everyone, so don't take chances.

Total cases in Upper Michigan Wednesday, April 1, sit at 16.

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ORIGINAL STORY:

Republic resident Gary Johnson, who is Marquette County's second confirmed case of COVID-19 says the coronavirus is taking a toll on his body, but that he's hanging in there.

"Right now I'm feeling very tired, because my lungs plugged up overnight. First time since this has happened that my lungs plugged up, and I wound up having to sleep sitting up. This is the scary part of it, and it's the only scary part of it,” said Johnson.

Both Johnson and his wife are staying home in order to protect others in the community.

Before his diagnosis and even before he showed any symptoms, Johnson says he hadn’t gone into public.

"Since that time, I've been in the house. We just didn't go out anywhere,” Johnson said.

Dr. John Loewen, who is treating Johnson, says it is unknown who is at risk of exposure due to Johnson.

"You and I both know who's at risk, anybody that's been near him. But the specifics of who he was with, I guess I'm not at liberty to say. He was never in our office, and that is one of the points I want to make,” Loewen said.

Loewen adds that Johnson did the right thing by calling ahead of time to request a test, and then getting tested promptly at a drive-in test center.

"There's no exposure, and then there's a quick nasal swab taken, and the results come from there. That's what we're doing to protect the patients from getting it from other patients,” Loewen said.

Johnson adds it's unknown how long the virus will affect him, but that he's looking forward to recovery.

"You know, you have good days, and you have bad days,” Johnson said.



 
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