After 11-Day ICU Stay, North Texas Man Urges Others to Get COVID-19 Vaccine

"When it happens to you, it's like a crazy turn of perspective," said Adrian Norris, 34, who was hospitalized with COVID-19

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About 52% of people over the age of 12 are fully vaccinated in Texas, according to the Department of State Health Services.

Doctors said the majority of people they're seeing in the hospital with severe cases of COVID-19 are those who are not fully vaccinated.

Some who have fallen into that category are now advocating for others to get vaccinated.

“I have a new respect for COVID. You know, I have a new respect for wearing masks. I was not vaccinated, and I can't wait to get it," 34-year-old Adrian Norris said.

The father of two young sons lives in Carrollton and said he believes he contracted the coronavirus while attending a funeral in Kansas.

"COVID ended up turning into pneumonia and attacking my lungs pretty heavy and I ended up in the ICU for about 11 days," Norris said.

He said he ended up in the Intensive Care Unit at Medical City Dallas.

"It was pretty crazy because it almost felt like I was drowning over and over again. So, the way it was attacking my lungs, there would be just multiple times where I would just have crazy shortness of breath or just almost couldn't breathe at all for like minutes at a time," Norris said. "I just wanted to live, you know, and I really wanted to get out of there as soon as possible."

He was never intubated or placed on a ventilator but did rely on oxygen during his stay in the hospital.

Norris said he was discharged last Saturday, but continues to experience symptoms.

"I still have shortness of breath, I actually do still have oxygen that they sent me home with," he said.

He recently took to Facebook to share his experience and said he's encouraging others to get vaccinated.

COVID-19 survivor posts on social media about his experience with the virus.

“Looking back at it now, almost dying and seeing what it's doing to other people, I became one of those people that you see on the news," Norris said.

He said he never got the shot because it wasn't a priority at the time and he didn't feel like it impacted him directly. Norris said he doesn't smoke, doesn't have underlying health conditions and is relatively young, so he put it off.

"Now that it's directly impacted my life. I can't wait to get it (the vaccine), I would never want to put anybody else in a situation like what I was in," Norris said.

He has to wait a certain amount of time since he recently had the virus.

On Sunday, there are about 1,597 patients in hospitals in Trauma Service Area E, which covers most of North Texas, being treated for COVID-19. This is the first time that number has been this high since the end of February.

Doctors and nurses said they are noticing a younger demographic of patients becoming seriously ill, which ranges in ages from 20-50.

Last week, Dr. Joseph Chang, the chief medical officer for Parkland Hospital Health and Hospital System in Dallas, said they're seeing what's happening with their own eyes.

"So we're definitely increasing at an unacceptable rate and in fact, are rising at a rate that's higher than back in the wintertime," Chang said. "So, this delta variant is definitely no joke."

At one point Parkland had five wards specifically for COVID-19 patients. Currently, it's just one, but that could change based on the current trajectory.

Health professionals and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention point out that while vaccines are not 100% foolproof, they're helping reduce the risk of severe illness and hospitalization for COVID-19.

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