MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – As COVID-19 cases surge, hospitals are admitting younger and younger patients with severe symptoms.

Ella Winston is a 17-year-old senior at Wayzata High School. She’s spending her first day at home on Wednesday after 10 days of battling COVID-19 in the ICU at Children’s Minnesota. At one point, Ella’s mom feared she might lose her.

“She had a pretty high fever I think at that point, 102, 103. She had a very sore throat,” said her mother, Sarah Winston.

Ella Winston tested positive for COVID-19 on Halloween, and was admitted to the ICU, where she battled the virus along with a laundry list of other illnesses that come with it. Sarah Winston was by her side the entire time.

“Kidney failure, heart failure, liver distress, her body was shutting down,” said her mother.

On the car ride home, Ella Winston admitted to her mother that there was a point where she thought she wasn’t going to survive.

“That’s when she was like ‘yeah mommy, I thought I was going to die,” said Sarah Winston.

Ella Winston is the captain of the Trojette Dance Team at Wayzata. Her mother was shocked her athletic daughter ended up in this position in the first place.

“She’s 17, a student-athlete, completely healthy and it took her down big time,” she said.

Ella’s mother says her daughter was exposed to a friend who had tested positive for COVID-19, but wasn’t showing symptoms. The biggest lesson she learned is to take the 14-day quarantine seriously after exposure.

“I hear people say ‘we’re going to lay low for a couple days or a week.’ No- that’s not the answer. It is 14 days. I promise that if someone would have stuck by these protocols, Ella wouldn’t have gotten sick and wouldn’t have ended up in the ICU,” said Sarah Winston.

The Minnesota dance community set up a GoFundMe page for the Winston family to help pay for their hospital stay, which was not covered by health insurance. To donate, click here.

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Marielle Mohs

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