An early birthday present for one of Loudoun’s volunteer first responders was a trip home from the hospital after nearly a month-long stay for COVID-19 treatment.
Sam Neglia, an eight-year volunteer with the Sterling Volunteer Rescue Squad and the squad’s president, was released from the Inova Loudoun Hospital in Lansdowne on Tuesday evening, just 18 days before his 60th birthday. According to Clinical Director Debbie Toland, Neglia spent 28 days in the hospital, more than two weeks of which was spent in the Intensive Care Unit, followed by a final week of rehabilitation and ambulation in Toland’s 26 Main Unit.
Toland said that when Neglia was transferred to her unit, he was still “very critically ill,” with a chest tube still attached to his body. “He was pretty sick,” she said.
Toland said it was exciting to see Neglia go home and that “it gives you a kind of boost to keep going.”
“It’s encouraging,” she said.
Loudoun County Combined Fire & Rescue System Chief Keith Johnson said Neglia contracted the virus on March 31 while transporting a COVID-19-positive patient to the hospital. Johnson said none of the first responders knew the patient was infected at that time.
Johnson said it’s not clear when Neglia will be able to return to his duties as a volunteer, but that it would most likely “be a while.” He said COVID-19 is presenting first responders with a new kind of risk that can’t be seen.
Toland said she has cared for more than a hundred COVID-19 patients since the outbreak began two months ago and that every one of them exhibits different symptoms.