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Recovered from COVID-19, North County man donates antibody-rich plasma

Posted at 4:08 PM, Apr 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-07 21:22:45-04

ESCONDIDO, Calif. (KGTV) - An Escondido man who recovered from coronavirus has made a potentially life-saving donation.

"Glad this turned into a positive thing," said Jason Garcia.

Earlier this month, Garcia, 36, was back in a hospital. This time, it was to help others in the fight against COVID-19.

The aerospace engineer's first symptoms surfaced in early March: a cough and congestion, later followed by a headache, fever and body aches - and a trip to a hospital.
More than a week later, he receive a positive test for COVID-19.

He would spend nearly 10 days inside his home, confined to his office and staying away from his active-duty Navy wife and their 11-month-old daughter. His symptoms eventually subsided.

"Got a letter from San Diego County Health Department pretty much saying I had completed isolation requirement, and I took that letter and made a Facebook post about it," said Garcia.

Around the same time, St. Joseph Hospital of Orange also took to social media, in search of those who had recovered to sign up with an experimental treatment. A friend of Garcia's saw both of the posts and connected the hospital with Garcia.

Last week, Garcia found himself at that hospital, ready to help.

"He's donating plasma to be transfused into a patient in our ICU that is COVID-19 positive and needs this for treatment," said Wendy Escobedo, Director of Nursing for Renal Services for the hospital.

Within four days, all of his plasma- rich with antibodies - had been given out to 3 different COVID-19 patients.

Garcia was told the patient in the worst condition was taken off oxygen. The use of blood from a survivor from a disease is a long-held strategy. Garcia is one of the first to donate plasma in the fight against coronavirus.

"Feel amazing. I felt good," said Garcia.

The FDA has already approved several similar trials involving COVID-19 patients.