JOHNSTON, IOWA — Major General Benjamin Corell says he’d not been a patient in a hospital since the day he was born – until COVID-19. On Wednesday the leader of the Iowa National Guard shared his story of how the coronavirus sent him to the hospital in hopes of convincing hesitant Iowans to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Corell says he’d never missed a day of work due to sickness in his life. That changed in an instant last fall.
“Last November, I woke up and I didn’t feel well,” Corell said on Wednesday, “Over the course of the next several days I had the entire laundry list of COVID-19 signs and symptoms. I could hardly get out of bed.” Corell says he had a telehealth visit with his family doctor and his wife purchased a pulse oximeter to monitor his blood-oxygen level. “The next day my oxygen levels were so low that she gave me the choice: get in the car and go to the emergency room or I’m calling you an ambulance.”
General Corell says he was hospitalized for a full week with the virus and still has lingering health effects months later included tiredness and shortness of breath. “The after effects of my experience with this virus still exist five months later. I understand that COVID-19 affects people differently. In my case it was very real, very serious and nothing to mess with,” Corell said.
Corell says he signed up for a COVID-19 vaccination appointment without hesitation when he was eligible. He received his second dose last month. Now he is asking fellow Iowans – especially those who serve under him or have served before – to roll up their sleeves.
“For all of you who have been vaccinated: thank you for being part of the solution to defeat this plague. For those of you who have not been vaccinated, I implore you to take the time to get it scheduled and get yourself vaccinated. For those of you sitting on the fence wondering about getting vaccinated – do it. It’s the right thing to do for you, your family, your neighbors and your communities. Join us in being part of the solution to end this.
“For the one-half of the current Iowa National Guard members who have not been vaccinated, for other Iowans who have worn the uniform and have not yet been vaccinated – I call on you now to serve your communities in a different way.”