William "Bill" Kelly, a 95-year-old veteran of WWII who also lived through the Great Depression has added another accomplishment to his name after contracting the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, and beating it.
"I am doing well," said Kelly. "I definitely feel very good this morning."
Kelly's family was there to support him through his recovery, including his granddaughter, Rose Etherington, and her husband, Isaac Etherington, with whom he lives in Yamhill County, Oregon. They joined ABC News' "Pandemic: What You Need to Know" to share their story, and remind people that there "are a lot of people surviving and getting through" the COVID-19 pandemic, Isaac Etherington said.
Kelly said he took steps to care for himself once he started feeling the illness coming.
"It's just something that you deal with as you get it. The big thing with me is that if I feel that I'm coming down with something, take good care and get help, find out what to do and do what you're supposed to do, get plenty of rest — that sort of thing," he said. "You generally get through it OK. I was very fortunate that I did. I got through."
Kelly said he had "two or three pretty tough nights and evenings where I had problems with my lower [body], my legs and my back — difficulty getting rest — because it was very uncomfortable trying to sleep. Other than that, though, you work your way through it. Do as you're told. And I got some good help here."
He said his family was there to help him.
"They stayed right on me," he said. "So we worked it all through. So we're very happy and happy to be here."
Kelly, who has kidney disease, a congenital heart condition and high blood pressure, first started feeling symptoms of the infection on March 15, the family told ABC News.
"When Grandpa Bill doesn’t feel well, he doesn’t say anything and we have to dig it out of him," Isaac Etherington said. "He said he wasn’t feeling well and he had a fever of 100.7 [degrees]. We called his doctor. He was coughing a little and his legs and body hurt."
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Kelly's family took him to the local hospital where he was tested for COVID-19. He received a positive result two days later and became the first person in his county with the virus.
"Nobody could be with him. It was really hard because he had to be alone," Isaac Etherington said.
"He had to stay in his bedroom and not come out for a week. We make his food and help him. So this was hard and we had to wear masks, constantly sanitize, clean. I didn’t stop cleaning," Rose Etherington said.
"We have little kids, too, and we didn’t know if it would affect them. He loves being with my two sons. They keep him going," she added, referring to her 5-year-old and 11-month-old boys.
Kelly was born Jan. 1, 1925. He comes from a big Irish Catholic family in Chicago, Rose Etherington said.
She said her grandfather is "a very special person" who can serve as a ray of hope for others, especially now.
"I think in this time when there's a lot of negative, I think the best advice we have is to stay positive and keep your eyes on the good things that are happening," Isaac Etherington said. "Stay positive, stay healthy and, yeah, keep your eyes on the sunny side, for sure"