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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Imagine spending two months fighting COVID-19. That’s exactly what one Minnesota man is doing.

Chris Hirte’s sister, Dawn Ramaley, and his friend, Michele Kivi, made the call to bring him to North Memorial hospital back in March when he started developing symptoms of COVID-19.

“March 26th he developed a fever that went as high 103.6 [degrees],” Ramaley said.

Hirte was admitted to the hospital on March 28, the day before his 50th birthday. He’s been in the ICU on a ventilator ever since — marking more than 56 days in the hospital.

“He can’t talk or respond. He can barely nod his head,” Ramaley said.

The family isn’t able to see him in person, but has recently been able to do Zoom calls with him. It’s been a difficult way for this family to see their brother and friend — who normally goes out of his way to bring a smile to other’s faces.

“He was a very giving guy,” Kivi said.

Hirte was seemingly healthy too, with only a minor underlying health issue.

“He’s an extremely well controlled diabetic. He doesn’t even take medicine. His numbers are fabulous,” Ramaley said.

As the state begins to reopen many businesses, there are families like this one that are far from being ready to look to the other side of this virus.

“I get in arguments all the time on Facebook over it,” said Kivi, “but you know if you had someone in the hospital that was fighting every day to get better you’d understand.”

It’s been a long road for this entire family, but as Chris continues to fight to survive, his family fights their fears.

“There’s still hope,” said Ramaley, “I mean we think he’s going to make it.”

Hirte has made gradual improvement in the last week. He got a tracheotomy, which means he’ll be sedated a lot less.

“That’s how he’s become more aware and can actually open his eyes and his eyes are looking forward instead of rolling up, which is what happens with anesthesia,” Ramaley said.

For Ramaley, Hirte is more than a brother. He moved in with his sister after her husband passed away in 2016. He’s been helping raise her son, who is a graduating senior this year, another person in the family greatly impacted by this virus.

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Marielle Mohs

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