'I beat it:' SoCal ER nurse recovering at home after 9-day hospitalization with COVID-19

REDLANDS, Calif. (KABC) -- A Southern California ER nurse is now back home and recovering after being hospitalized for more than a week with COVID-19.

Darrin Looysen came close to being placed on a ventilator during his nine-day stay at Redlands Community Hospital. He required high-flow oxygen for several of those days. He's still on oxygen but he says he is doing much better.

Looysen, a registered nurse at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton, documented his journey to recovery with a video diary, describing how difficult it was to breathe at times.

"I remember one night just lying in bed ... I felt like I could actually die, you know. I could barely breathe. I didn't want to be on a ventilator. I refused the ventilator twice," he said.

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Cory, Dennis and Brian Angel of Tarzana traveled to Italy in late February for a ski trip. Little did they know that all 13 skiers on the trip would catch novel coronavirus and accidentally bring it back to Los Angeles.

His girlfriend, Anais Fantini, believes he may have contracted COVID-19 when they traveled to New Orleans just last month. She also tested positive but did not have any symptoms.

Looysen says while he was hospitalized, it was difficult to watch stories about first responders and other victims of the illness.

"You're seeing these police officers and these first responders, firemen, young and healthy are dying. It's scary," he said.

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Scott Blanks, 34, was already on a ventilator by the time his test came back positive for COVID-19.

Looysen said he's ready to return to work as soon as he's healthy.

"I beat it, I beat it."

Due to a shortage of tests, he added he doesn't know if he now tests negative for novel coronavirus but expects to be tested in the next few days.
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