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'You start to take it pretty seriously': 70-year-old with underlying health condition recovers from COVID-19

Chuck Cortner is now back at work at the St. Charles County Pet Adoption Center

ST. PETERS, Mo. — On a normal day, you'll find Chuck Cortner working with dogs at the St. Charles County Pet Adoption Center.

"It's just a gift. I relate well to them especially the scared and more fractious ones," said Cortner.

But on March 20 he received a diagnosis that took him away from the animals he loves so much.

Cortner tested positive for the coronavirus.

"The first four or five days were awful. I couldn't eat anything and my throat was almost completely swollen shut," explained Cortner.

But that didn't stop the 70-year-old with diabetes from powering through. 

"At any point did you think I may not make it through this?" asked 5 On Your Side's Brandon Merano.

"No, even when they put me on the oxygen, I never had that thought," answered Cortner.

RELATED: More than 40 COVID-19 patients released from St. Louis hospitals in 1 day

Now that he's made a full recovery, Cortnery said he realizes how serious this virus can be.

"When they put me in isolation and all you see are nurses and doctors in face garb, you start to take it pretty seriously," said Cortner.

He's hoping others do too, so we can all get back to sharing our own gifts soon. 

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