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Manteca man recounts his 'most terrifying experience' with coronavirus

San Joaquin and Stanislaus County coronavirus cases continue to surge, as ICU capacity hits 143% in San Joaquin County.

STOCKTON, Calif. — On a breathing tube in a Stockton hospital, 28-year old Jason Panugaling, of Manteca, did all he could to stay alive.

"It's honestly the most terrifying experience I ever experienced in my whole life," Panugaling said.

The 2018 college grad and fitness buff with no underlying health conditions recently spent eight days at St. Joseph's Medical Center after he was diagnosed with coronavirus. He said he began feeling symptoms around mid-June. At one point, he said he was spitting up blood and came down with pneumonia.

"My oxygen saturation dropped to 89% and I believe the limit is at 92%," Panugaling said. "One of the nurses told me if it drops to 92 immediately go to the hospital. So, that's what I did."

He said he eventually received an anti-body transfusion from a coronavirus survivor, which Panugaling believes helped saved his life. Unfortunately, his story is similar to many others in the Central Valley.

The San Joaquin County Public Health Services coronavirus dashboard is reporting 11,342 coronavirus cases as of July 30. The number of deaths has gone up, as well, to 151 and ICU hospitalizations are at 143% of capacity.

Stanislaus County's coronavirus dashboard is reporting 8,492 cases and 104 deaths as of July 30. 

For Panugaling, he is now out of the hospital, but still needs help when he sleeps and exercises. He is gaining strength though and recently hiked to the top of Mt. Diablo. He's hoping what happened to him is a lesson for all.

"Please, for the love of God, take it seriously and protect those around you," Panugaling said.

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