WINDSOR -- Dr. Dean Favot has never missed a day of work in his 35 years as a doctor in Windsor, but that all changed when he was hit by COVID-19.

“I always bragged, and prided the fact that I probably have the best immune system of anybody,” says Favot, who practiced emergency medicine at the Windsor Regional Hospital before retiring last year.

A month ago, he started noticing changes to his body.

“I lost my taste buds, had very hyper sensitive skin, painful. I said this is sort of strange, but it will probably go away in a few days.”

Those symptoms never went away. 10 days later, Favot was laying on a bed in the intensive care unit where he once worked. The doctors would slide a ventilator tube down his throat as his conditioned worsened.

“You can’t breathe, it’s worst feeling in the world,” he describes.

For the next 10 days, the ventilator push life-saving oxygen into his lungs as Favot was fighting for his life.

“It was the scariest time of my life.”

Meanwhile, his wife and kids were back at home, unable to be by his side as the hospital had implemented visitor restrictions.

“I dropped him off at the hospital. I couldn’t go in, I drove away. I parked my car and cried for hours,” says his wife, Giuliana Favot.

“At one point I didn’t think I was going to see him again.”

Family, friends and even acquaintances reached to Mrs. Favot during this devastating time to help in any way they can.

“We had to quarantine ourselves. I had food daily dropped off from friends and family, unbelievable,” she says.

After three weeks in the ICU, Favot started to regain his strength. On Saturday, he was discharged from the hospital as a recovered man.

“The staff at the hospital were unbelievable, it was top-notch care. I’m so grateful.”

The celebrations continued once he arrived home. His wife sent out a group text to over 100 of his friends and family inviting them to host a surprise welcome home parade.

Favot was moved to tears as cars were lined up down the street, greeting him with claps and cheers.

Before catching the virus, Favot was working part-time at the Grand Marais Urgent Care Clinic. He was planning on volunteering at Windsor Regional Hospital’s COVID-19 clinic.

He is now urging everyone to follow the coronavirus safety precautions, as the virus doesn’t discriminate.

“Do not take this virus lightly, it is deadly, do not be cavalier about it.”