‘She was in school, the next week she was in a coma’: Victorian teen’s COVID ordeal

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One week Saela was in school, the next week she was in a coma.

The 17-year-old Victorian girl has told of her ordeal after being struck down with COVID-19 and placed on a ventilator.

Saela tells journalists about her experience with COVID-19 on Wednesday.

Addressing media during Wednesday’s coronavirus update, Saela recounted how she became infected with COVID-19 from her baby sister’s daycare centre and, later in hospital, nearly died.

Her mother Michelle said of the time: “Last week, she was in school and next week she was in a coma”.

Saela said her “health progressively got worse and then one night [in hospital] I couldn’t stop coughing. I was struggling to breathe”.

“They said I had pneumonia. I had no idea what that was. I felt so many needles. I couldn’t catch my next breath.”

Saela’s mother Michelle visits her in intensive care.

Saela said when she woke up in hospital nine days later, she was hallucinating and realised she had a tube coming out of her neck.

She spent nearly a month in Box Hill Hospital and ultimately got better, but she will bear the scar of her tracheostomy for the rest of her life.

She was not eligible to get vaccinated when she got COVID-19 and urged others to protect themselves.

“There are a lot of people my age who think they’re invincible and don’t need the vaccine,” she said.

Saela in hospital with her mother, Michelle, as she recovers from COVID-19.

“They think … they won’t be affected but COVID almost killed me. If you can get the vaccine, please consider it.”

Saela’s family became infected, too, with her father at one point coughing up blood. Michelle recalled seeing her family members, who ultimately recovered, getting taken away by ambulances one after the other.

Michelle’s parents were the only people in her family who were fully vaccinated.

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