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WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – For months, we’ve been hearing about COVID-19 — first in China, then in other parts of the world before it made its way to the U.S. Now, one Ohio man has become all too familiar with the virus and is urging others to take the threat seriously.

“I’ve been sick a million times in my life. Broken bones, viruses, colds, fevers. Nothing like this,” said Kevin Harris, of Trumbull County.

Harris has been at St. Joseph Hospital in Warren since last Sunday. He was the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Trumbull County and the fifth in the state of Ohio.

“Never in life have I felt like I was going to die until I got this and it lasted for days. During this whole stretch, there were at least six whole days where I was pretty sure I was going to die.”

Harris was in the intensive care unit but has since been moved.

When his symptoms started, he said he thought he had the flu and took proper precautions. He told people to stay away and was taking over-the-counter flu medicine.

Eventually, he knew it was something else.

“When it gets you, it actually makes you want to just lay still and be quiet, and you start to feel better and then it slowly starts to take your air away day by day. It’s killing you slowly but you think you feel OK until you cough.”

From his hospital bed, Harris urged people to understand how real this virus is.

“I see on the internet every day, people laughing, making fun of the virus, making memes, talking about what they’re going to do. I see people enjoying St. Patrick’s Day. Let me tell you, people are going to get sick and they’re going to start dying, and it’s not going to be funny anymore.”

Harris believes all of that can be avoided with a little sacrifice.

“No matter how much time it takes, practice social distancing.”

Harris also wanted people to know that he has no fundraising campaigns out there. Don’t donate to any circulating online because he is not sure where that money is going.

He said he doesn’t want any money but just wants everyone to do their part to help stop COVID-19’s spread.