6 out of 10 Wisconsinites diagnosed with COVID-19 have recovered

NOW: 6 out of 10 Wisconsinites diagnosed with COVID-19 have recovered

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Sixty-two-year-old Army veteran Joe Williams left the Milwaukee VA Center for the first time in two months Friday.

Family and friends greeted Williams as he joined the more than 8,000 Wisconsinites who have recovered from COVID-19.

Williams said his battle with the virus was his toughest one yet.

“That’s the toughest battle, and I still came out a winner," Williams said. "Thank God and the people who are around me.”

Family members no longer need to field anxious calls from the hospital.

“Every phone call that came through twice a day, it was a scary call because it could have gone the other way,” Joe's sister Sally said.

Williams is among the 58 percent of Wisconsinites who have recovered from the virus. Thirty-nine percent of cases are still active. Four percent have died.

“We know that people can recover," Dr. Sarah Nickoloff said. "It is taking them longer to rehab, and to gain their strength back. But we’ve had a few very successful discharges now.”

Nickoloff said it’s important to catch the virus early.

“If people are sick, if they are not feeling well, they have to go to the hospital, they need to go to the hospital," Nickoloff said. "That’s the first piece of advice.”

Williams left a message for the public as he made his way home.

“The only thing I’ll say to people out here is be careful,  because this is no joke.”

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