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San Diego man who beat coronavirus at Palomar Medical Center donates back

Martinez says because of the excellent care he received and the lack of supplies, his company -Hubs Construction Supply - has donated 1,000 masks to the hospital.

SAN DIEGO — You no doubt have heard of the large number of people all around the country who have tested positive for coronavirus, but what about those who are recovering from it?

News 8’s Shannon Handy skyped with a 56-year-old man who was treated at Palomar Medical Center in Escondido.

Paul Martinez was diagnosed with the virus nearly two weeks ago and ended up spending three days in the ICU, but now he is at home recovering.

"I know I probably look ok right now but if you would've seen me a few days ago, I wasn’t ok," said Paul over videochat. 

When asked about his experience with COVID-19, Paul said, “Just the overall difficulty in breathing, the pneumonia, the aches and pains in my body were difficult, but I am thankful now.”

Paul said this virus made him the sickest he has ever been in 56 years. Fortunately, none of his family members, including his elderly mother have shown any signs of the virus.

He fainted at home, indicating something else was wrong.

"My wife you know found me on the ground was yelling and hollering and trying to see if I was ok, so we knew that was serious enough for me to go to the emergency room."

Paul was the first patient diagnosed with coronavirus at Palomar. Since then, hundreds of people throughout the county have contracted COVID-19.

He said he feels lucky knowing just how sick he was. "I'm very grateful to the hospital, to my church, to my family and things are turning out well for me and I'm very pleased."

Paul manages a construction materials firm. He believes he contracted the virus at a job site.

Paul said because of the excellent care he received and the lack of supplies, his company -Hub Construction Specialties - has donated 1,000 masks to the hospital.

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“I don’t get colds. I don’t get flus. I don’t call out sick from work and you know, you get this feeling like you're infallible, like it can't happen to you, but it can happen to you," said Paul.

Now that he's close to overcoming it, he wants to thank those who helped him along the way, from the medical staff at Palomar, to his church and family.

As for what's next, Paul is confident he'll be ok. He's just hoping the same can be said for everyone else.

"I pray for our country every single day," Paul said.

Hear more about how the community is coming together to help patients and professionals at Palomar Medical Center in "heartwarming" ways:

View all coverage of coronavirus / COVID-19 

NEWS 8 joined forces with The San Diego Foundation to raise IMMEDIATE, EMERGENCY FUNDS for our most vulnerable neighbors in need. Here is how you can help. 


According to the CDC, coronavirus (COVID-19) is a family of viruses that is spreadable from person to person. Coronavirus is believed to have been first detected in a seafood market in Wuhan, China in December 2019. If someone is sick with coronavirus, the symptoms they may show include mild to severe respiratory illness, cough, and difficulty breathing. 

Currently, there is no vaccine, however, the CDC suggests the following precautions, along with any other respiratory illness: 

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. 
  • Stay home when you are sick. 
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. 
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe. 
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds. 

The CDC also says facemasks should only be used by people who show symptoms of the virus. If you’re not sick, you do not have to wear a facemask.  

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