‘Wear a mask’; A message from a CDOT worker who spent 34 days in the hospital with COVID-19

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GOLDEN, Colo. (KDVR) — A Colorado state worker who battled COVID-19 for more than a month has a message for people – please wear a mask around others.

“Think about it. Think about the people you love,” said Mike Clark, a 70-year-old, typically healthy and active man.

But back in March he got sick and spent nine days in bed. Then Clark’s wife drove him to an Urgent Care center in Lakewood.

“I can remember her going into the building,” Clark said. “I can remember me getting out of the truck heading towards the door. And I don’t remember anything else for 14 days.”

Clark woke up at St. Anthony Hospital. He was battling the coronavirus and was on a ventilator.

“I can barely move left or right,” said Clark, remembering what he called “a grim” moment. “And I had something in my mouth and stuck down my throat. And I can’t talk.”

Clark is one of the 5,234 people with COVID in Colorado who’ve had to be hospitalized.

Nearly one in four people near his age (70-79) does not recover from the disease.

But 34 days after Clark was rushed to the hospital, he was released. This week, Gov. Jared Polis shared his story.

“There are tens of thousands of COVID cases in Colorado and behind each case is a person,” Polis said. “Mike, thanks for your work for the Department of Transportation and for the state. Thank you for being willing to share your story.”

“It was kind of interesting,” Clark said about the Polis’s speech. “I liked a little bit. I’ve spent most of my career and life avoiding the limelight.”

But now Clark is in it. And using it to tell people to please wear a mask and cover their face.

“If it makes a small percentage more people wear their masks longer and do the social distancing longer until the COVID reaches zero, it’ll be worth it,” Clark said.

Studies show droplets from a person’s nose and mouth can fly up to 27 feet. That’s why public health experts, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and more now recommend people wear a mask when they’re close to others, especially indoors.

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