104-year-old WWII veteran recovers from COVID-19, celebrates birthday at the same time

A WWII veteran recovered from COVID-19 just in time to celebrate his 104th birthday in Oregon on April 1. Carolee Brown/Facebook

A man celebrated his 104th birthday by becoming possibly the oldest person to recover from COVID-19.

William Lapschies has been isolated in his room at the Edward C. Allworth Veterans’ Home in Lebanon, Ore., since he was diagnosed with the virus on March 5.

He’s one of 15 residents to test positive at the seniors’ home; he was one of the first two cases at the residence.

But on Wednesday, his loved ones received some incredible news. The Second World War veteran and birthday boy — who lived through the Spanish Flu, the Great Depression and multiple recessions — had fully recovered from COVID-19, according to a spokesperson, KOIN-TV reports.

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Though his family wasn’t allowed inside the facility, Lapschies’ family surprised him outside his home for a socially distant celebration.

“Pretty good. I made it,” he said when asked how it felt to turn 104. “Good for a few more.”

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Coronavirus outbreak: Father throws fancy dinner party for his kids amid social distancing measures

Aside from likely being the oldest coronavirus survivor, he was also one of the first Oregonians to contract the disease, daughter Carolee Brown told The Oregonian.

“He is fully recovered. He is very perky,” Brown said. “And he is very excited.”

The publication says the family brought balloons and double-layered chocolate cake to celebrate his birthday and recovery.

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It wasn’t exactly as he celebrated his 101st birthday, Brown said. Over 200 people congregated for that one. This time, they were just happy to celebrate with him at all.

“We’re so thrilled he’s recovered from this,” she told the Oregonian. “We just had to do something for him.”

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

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COVID-19: Canadian Astronaut Chris Hadfield talks about self-isolation

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

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To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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