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Waikiki bartender who contracted COVID-19 released after 2-month hospitalization

  • Video courtesy Torda family

    Hospital staff and friends gathered for Lee-Jacob "Coby" Torda's discharge today.

  • COURTESY TORDA FAMILY
                                Lee-Jacob “Coby” Torda left Kaiser Permanente Moanalua today.

    COURTESY TORDA FAMILY

    Lee-Jacob “Coby” Torda left Kaiser Permanente Moanalua today.

  • COURTESY TORDA FAMILY
                                Kaiser Permanente Moanalua staff showed their support for Lee-Jacob “Coby” Torda today.

    COURTESY TORDA FAMILY

    Kaiser Permanente Moanalua staff showed their support for Lee-Jacob “Coby” Torda today.

  • COURTESY TORDA FAMILY
                                Friends made signs for Lee-Jacob “Coby” Torda’s discharge today.

    COURTESY TORDA FAMILY

    Friends made signs for Lee-Jacob “Coby” Torda’s discharge today.

After 69 days of intense treatment and recovery, Ewa Beach resident Lee-Jacob “Coby” Torda, who contracted the new coronavirus in March, was discharged Friday from Kaiser Permanente Moanalua Medical Center.

The 38-year-old Waikiki bartender’s hospitalization — part of it spent on life support in the Intensive Care Unit — is the longest of any COVID-19 patient at the Kaiser facility. Of all the confirmed Hawaii cases since the start of the outbreak, 83 have required hospitalization.

The state’s tally of coronavirus cases rose Friday with three new cases — all on Oahu — reaching 649. There were 27 active cases and a total of 605 patients now classified as “released from isolation” since the start of the outbreak — more than 93% of those infected in Hawaii. The state’s coronavirus death toll was unchanged at 17.

So far in May, Hawaii has seen a total of 42 new confirmed cases and has had seven days with no increase in new cases.

Torda praised the Moanalua hospital staff that took care of him during his grueling weeks of treatment after being admitted March 21, his mother, Peggy Torda- Saballa, said in a news release issued by City Councilwoman Kym Pine, who represents the Ewa Beach district.

“They were very sensitive to his condition and very attentive, and he is really excited to be coming home,” Torda-Saballa said. Torda wasn’t immediately available for interviews.

The family suspects the bartender contracted COVID-19 while working among tourists at a bar in the state’s tourism hub.

Torda started feeling sick after coming home from work March 9 and had been coughing and developed a headache. His symptoms progressed, with fevers as high as 104 degrees, and he went to The Queen’s Medical Center to get a coronavirus test on March 15.

By March 20, he was having difficulty breathing and the fever would not break, his mother earlier told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

“We all feared that we wouldn’t see him again,” his brother Leyton said in the release. “Coby’s recovery is nothing short of a miracle, and we have all the people of Hawaii to thank for it. I don’t think he would have made it without their prayers and blessings that willed him into the healing process and brought us to this day. We are so grateful.”

His family members, including Torda’s husband, Scotty Staples, were trained at the hospital Thursday on how to help in his recovery at home.

Torda, who was previously a healthy and active man, lost significant weight and muscle tone while hospitalized, his family said.

“I was overwhelmed with joy, just to see him smiling. His personality was intact and it seemed like his spirits were up, despite being in ICU for so long,” Staples said.

Pine added: “We and so many others have prayed for the tightly knit family, for the joy they eagerly anticipate today. They have been rock steady in their faith and their hope for Coby.”

Of the more than 47,421 coronavirus tests conducted so far by state and clinical laboratories, roughly 1.4% have been positive.

State and county officials continue to loosen coronavirus restrictions, including allowing the reopening of hair salons and barbershops Friday on Oahu, but the 14-day quarantine on air travelers remains, and Hawaii is seeing an unprecedented drop in tax revenues coupled with record unemployment.

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

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