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Charlotte paramedics treating COVID-19 patients in their homes

Atrium Health's virtual hospital allows patients to fight coronavirus at home with paramedics checking in daily.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — "I thought I was gonna die." 

Ramona Reeves works as a scheduler at one of Atrium Hospital's clinics, so when she started feeling COVID-19 symptoms, she knew how to get help.

"I couldn't breathe, and that point where I could not breathe was very scary," Reeves said. 

She's one of several coroanvirus patients who were treated through Atrium's virtual hospital, which allowed her to fight the virus at home with hospital paramedics checking in on her daily. 

"I was like, 'we're gonna get COVID too, what are we gonna do?'" said Atrium paramedic Josh Debonis. 

In fact, Debonis says now that it's a routine he and the others are much more comfortable with. They wear full personal protective equipment on every home visit.

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The director of the virtual hospital, Dr. Stephanie Murphy, says the idea for keeping patients at home is to help slow the spread of the virus and keep patients in a comfortable setting.

“Which is their home of course and give them the ability to be in their environment while dealing with a very stressful and difficult time,” Dr. Murphy explained.

The paramedics leave a kit with a blood pressure cuff, thermometer and a way to check oxygen levels with patients and teach them how to use the tools and say the work during this crisis has been very rewarding.

“Being one of first in the world was pretty amazing stuff to do,” Debonis added.

Reeves says she's thankful for the medics who came to her home. 

"I'm very grateful for the paramedics that came to my house," she said. "I really thought I was going to die."

Reeves is now fully recovered and back to work.

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