William "Bill" Lapschies and his family recently recovered from COVID-19 and he just celebrated his 104th birthday. The Oregon veteran is the oldest person in the world to conquer the novel coronavirus.
Visitors are prohibited inside the Edward C. Allworth Veterans' Home in Lebanon due to statewide guidelines, but they had a humble celebration outside.
Lapschies was among the first Oregonians known to have the illness, has been announced free of the coronavirus, according to daughter Carolee Brown.
His birthday was on Wednesday and he was one of the first two residents to test positive for the disease at the veterans' home in the city of Lebanon.
Fifteen residents have been diagnosed with the coronavirus and two have died.
The American survived World War II and the Spanish Flu pandemic. He exhibited symptoms linked with the virus on March 5 and was immediately undertook isolation.
Lapschies was very sick and 8 days into the illness, his family said they thought he might not pull through as he took a turn for the worse. But he made it instead and continued to be in a better condition every day.
His family celebrated a "wonderful recovery." According to Lapschies' son-in-law, he could be an inspiring example.
"We're hoping this goes out to all the people out there who are sick and have this problem if Bill can survive this at 104, anybody can," Jim Brown, his son-in-law said. "Step up, you can do it."
The staff brought Lapschies out to a patio in a wheelchair on Wednesday and a flag-covered quilt and blanket in his lap. His family waved, held signs, and blew kisses from a safe distance.
According to daughter Carolee Brown, this arrangement was not how they had planned to celebrate his special day. "We celebrated his 101 and had over 200 people. So trying to keep our social distancing and do what Governor (Kate) Brown has asked us to do."
Aside from being fully recovered, her father is very perky and very excited, Brown said on his condition.
The Salem-born WWII veteran has been living at the nursing home for eight months.
The doctor in the nursing home once called Brown that her father was not doing well.
Lapschies' temperature had greatly risen and he had difficulty breathing. Brown and the doctor talked about end-of-life decisions.
As of this week, according to a VA spokesperson, Lapschies "has met the guidelines by the CDC and Oregon Health Authority to be considered recovered from COVID-19," a VA spokesperson."
The recovery came in good timing for his 104th birthday affair.
As he was one of the first two residents at the nursing home to test positive for the coronavirus, the other victim, a man in his 90s, has unfortunately died.
The home has registered 16 COVID-19 cases to date, out of which eight patients have been cured, one is asymptotic, two are in critical condition and two fatalities had been recorded.