Tippecanoe County's first COVID-19 diagnosis comes home after recovering

The man who was diagnosed with the disease was in Florida at the time. On Thursday Rob Kochon’s family and friends welcomed him home for the first time since he has recovered.

Posted: May 21, 2020 7:29 PM
Updated: May 21, 2020 8:48 PM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI)- The very first case of COVID-19 in Tippecanoe County was announced back in March. The man who was diagnosed with the disease was in Florida at the time. On Thursday Rob Kochon’s family and friends welcomed him home for the first time since he has recovered.

"I didn't know I knew so many people," said Rob Kochon when he saw how many people came to his neighborhood to welcome him home.

It was a warm welcome and a sweet surprise Rob and his wife Carol. A police escort brought him home, and the while neighborhood surprised with signs, smiles, and hugs. However, this welcome home is something Rob himself wasn't sure was going to happen.

"I was put on a ventilator and I was on there for 23 days,” said Rob. “I am told that very few if any survive especially since I am 68 years old.”

After Rob was put on the ventilator, he had a long road ahead before his recovery.

"While I was on the ventilator I coded three times,” added Rob. “My heart stopped three times and they brought me back and one of the times that they were doing CPR they broke a rib and it punctured my lung."

Even though he had complications, Rob eventually overcame COVID-19.

"It's been quite a journey but I'm glad we're home," added Rob.

A journey he feels, wouldn’t have ended the way it did without his faith and his family.

"They have a sign at the hospital and it says god heals we help,” stated Ron. “The staff firmly believes that and I firmly believe that too."

It's a happy ending, to battle with a disease many are still fighting today.

"This was definitely a miracle,” said Katie Schmidt one of Rob’s 6 children. “He has had many of the medical professionals in Florida and here says that. When you look at his numbers when you look at his labs when you look at all of that there is just no doubt that this was a miracle."
Rob says he thinks he contracted the coronavirus back on March 11th when he was on a plane that was at full capacity.

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