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Sylacauga couples believes they dealt with COVID-19 long before cases in Alabama emerged

Timmy and Brandie McCain said Timmy had all the symptoms of COVID-19 at the end of last year and came within inches of death. (Source: WBRC)
Timmy and Brandie McCain said Timmy had all the symptoms of COVID-19 at the end of last year and came within inches of death. (Source: WBRC)
Published: May. 11, 2020 at 1:27 PM CDT
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The first case of COVID-19 in Alabama was reported back in mid-March, but one Sylacauga couple said they believe they were dealing with the virus long before then.

Timmy and Brandie McCain said Timmy had all the symptoms of COVID-19 at the end of last year and came within inches of death.

“I went to go to the bathroom one night, or one morning, and I couldn’t even walk to the bathroom without having to stop to catch my breath because I couldn’t breathe,” Timmy said.

He was stubborn about going to the doctor at first, but when his symptoms started progressing, his wife, Brandie, finally convinced him to go.

“I was sitting there, and the doctor in the Sylacauga hospital didn’t know how I was sitting there. He said by my numbers and the x-rays of my lungs that I should be dead,” Timmy explained.

No cases of COVID-19 had been confirmed stateside at that time, but by January, Timmy was deathly ill, and was eventually admitted to the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit at Grandview Medical Center in Birmingham.

“He was definitely one of our more critical patients,” said Nurse Director of CICU at Grandview Medical Center, Jordan Stover.

“Everyone knew that he was young and had young children, so our number one goal was to get him back home to those kids,” Stover said.

“What we’re learning is, it was COVID-19, flu, he went into ARTS, he went septic, bi-lateral pneumonia,” Brandie explained.

Timmy is 38 years old, and up to this point, had not had a complicated medical history.

His symptoms began shortly after Brandie came back from vacation, an 8-day cruise.

“My first thought was, is you know, on cruise ships, you have people from every country in the world, primarily Asia. So, the first thing that comes to my mind, is this coming from China that maybe somebody got back on the ship visiting home and didn’t know,” Brandie said.

The McCains aren’t the only ones who believe COVID-19 has been in Alabama longer than first reported.

“We had so many hospice deaths in that last quarter of 2019 and the first quarter of 2020,” said Shelby County Coroner, Lina Evans

“COVID wasn’t mentioned, but we did have a lot of people with respiratory failure. I believe that when the research comes out we are going to see that COVID played a role in multiple deaths that we actually had no idea,” Evans said.

Timmy was tested last week for COVID-19 antibodies at MainStreet Family Urgent Care in Sylacauga.

Those results were very suggestive for COVID-19.

Timmy racked up a $2 million medical bill during his month-long stay in the hospital, but his insurance would only pay $900 thousand of it.

Now that Timmy has recovered, the focus now shifts to paying off more than $1 million dollars of medical bills.

Copyright 2020 WBRC. All rights reserved.

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