HARTFORD, Conn. — The first Connecticut resident to be diagnosed with COVID-19 says he is still coping with health problems one year later, but the experience has brought a new optimism to his life.
Chris Tillett, a former Wilton, Connecticut, resident, tested positive for COVID-19 on March 8, 2020, and spent three weeks at Danbury Hospital, including 10 days in a coma and on a ventilator. Doctors used experimental treatments, including anti-malaria and anti-HIV drugs, in efforts to save his life.
Tillett, who was 45 years old at the time, a husband and father of 4-month-old twin boys, got sick after returning from a professional conference in California.
“This has been a tough year,” Tillett, who now lives in Virginia, told WVIT-TV. “I’m enjoying little aspects of life. Even when things go bad, I just choose to laugh at it now instead of letting it get me angry and upset, and like what is that gonna do for me, right? So I’ve just found, yes, definitely a new lease on life.”
Tillett told Connecticut Public Radio he continues to experience muscle pain, stiffness and swelling in his legs. He also had to begin taking blood pressure medication, and may have to for the rest of his life. He said red spots still cover his feet, a common lingering symptom of the virus.
Exactly one year after Tillett tested positive, more than 285,000 Connecticut residents have contracted the virus and more than 7,700 have died.