Jessica Ancona, mayor of El Monte, still dealing with effects of COVID-19

EL MONTE, Calif. (KABC) -- The mayor of El Monte was recently released from the hospital and is still dealing with the aftereffects of COVID-19.

Mayor Jessica Ancona says it's going to be awhile before she is functioning at 100 percent.

Ancona says she tested positive early in December and has been dealing with her most severe symptoms for the past two weeks. She said at one point, her breathing became so labored she had to drive herself to the hospital.

Ancona posted on social media that she is back home and thanked everyone for their support.

"This virus is real." she said

The mayor spent a week in the hospital with COVID-19. She first started feeling symptoms at the end of November and declined from there.

"Tuesday night was a really bad evening for me. I really couldn't breathe and I thought to myself I need to admit myself the next day," she said.

She was admitted to the hospital December 9 with a fever and pneumonia, her oxygen levels down to 82 percent. She was not alone in the hospital.

"It almost seemed like a scene out of a movie, in the sense that all the doors when entering the COVID unit were sealed off," she said.

Ancona struggled for a week but was able to stay out of the ICU. She was released three days ago and continues to deal with after effects.

"Little by little I've Been weaning off the oxygen tank. I still get winded. My energy is very low so it's going to be a while before I'm back to 100%."

The mayor, who also works as a high school assistant principal, is pleading with her community to take this virus seriously and stay home over the holidays.

"For people to think oh it's just the flu- it's not. We have zero ICU beds left in our SoCal hospitals, our healthcare workers are stretched to their limits. My family has made the plan, we are all staying home, we're not gathering because I do not want to see any one of my family members in the hospital, so it's serious."

Ancona has thanked El Monte for all of the well wishes during her illness, and says now, what she needs most, is rest.
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