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Tonawanda supervisor 'symptom-free' after rough battle with Covid-19

After a brutal ordeal with Covid-19, Town of Tonawanda Supervisor Joseph H. Emminger says he is symptom-free, out of isolation and anxious to return to work.

His two-week battle with the disease caused by the novel coronavirus was “the darkest time of my entire life,” Emminger said on Sunday. He thanked “God and my hero wife, Colleen” for helping him get through it.

“I’ve never been through anything this difficult in my entire life, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone,” said Emminger, 60, who is continuing to recover at his Town of Tonawanda home. “There were some very dark moments. Over a period of 10 or 11 days, I never got any more than two hours of sleep a day.

“I was so weak that I can hardly describe it. In the darkest times, I kept repeating, ‘Jesus, I trust you,’ and I must have said 1,000 Hail Marys.”

Emminger, who was diagnosed April 13, had two visits to Kenmore Mercy Hospital but spent most of the ordeal at home. He came down with pneumonia eight days ago.

“I started to feel better on Wednesday of last week,” he said Sunday. “Now, I’m symptom-free, with no fever for 72 hours. From everything my doctor told me, I have turned the corner.”

Coronavirus need to know (map image updated 5/20)

He said he expects to begin taking some online meetings on town business Monday, but he does not expect to physically return to work for about three weeks.

Emminger said his son, Christopher, 31, who is in formation to become a Catholic priest, also contracted Covid-19 and has made a strong recovery.

“Through most of this time, I was confined to a downstairs bedroom, Chris was in an upstairs bedroom, and Colleen, my hero, was going back and forth, doing her best to take care of both of us,” Emminger said.

He said he appreciates the prayers and good wishes that came from family members, friends and “total strangers” from all over the United States who read about his illness and reached out to him.

“I needed every single one of those prayers, believe me,” Emminger said.

Remembering one humorous moment from a very somber time, Emminger said he was getting an X-ray at the hospital April 18 when a hospital worker asked him, “Any idea when the town golf courses will be opening?”

Emminger said he was extremely uncomfortable at that moment and could not answer.

“The guy apologized later for asking,” Emminger said, "but that is a question we’ll be looking at with the Town Board over the next few days.”

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