People.com Human Interest 24-Year-Old Woman Who Beat Coronavirus After 79 Days Wishes She Wore a Mask Paola Castillo was discharged from the hospital after a nearly three-month battle with COVID-19 By Jason Duaine Hahn Jason Duaine Hahn Website Jason Hahn is a Human Interest and Sports Reporter for PEOPLE. He's worked at PEOPLE's Los Angeles Bureau as a writer and reporter since 2017 and has interviewed the likes of Kobe Bryant, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Tom Brady. He has a B.A. in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Master's degree in Journalism from Columbia University. He previously worked for Complex Magazine in New York City. People Editorial Guidelines Published on July 17, 2020 06:00 PM Share Tweet Pin Email A woman from Texas was finally released from the hospital after a nearly three-month battle with coronavirus — and she hopes others heed her warning about the importance of wearing a mask. Paola Castillo was admitted to the emergency room at Medical City North Hills hospital on April 27, days after she first came down with coronavirus-related symptoms such as coughing, difficulty breathing and a fever, the facility said in a news release published Wednesday. The 24-year-old was quickly placed on a ventilator and spent more than a month in Medical City's intensive care unit. But Castillo's health continued to deteriorate, reaching the point where she fell terrifyingly "close to death," the hospital said. As doctors fought to save her life, Castillo was kept on sedatives. Today, she only has a few brief memories of the experience. "I saw a light," she recalled of one of those memories. "That light was God telling me it was time to wake up." Castillo eventually made a recovery, only to find out she could no longer easily walk, talk or swallow. She entered rehabilitation to rebuild her physical strength, and on July 3, took her first steps since being admitted to the facility. "What we are doing right now is at the heart of what it is to be human," Andrea Morian, director of Rehabilitation Services at Medical City North Hills, said in the statement. "What the care team has done for even this one patient is a mark of a life well lived and a purpose served." Ohio Veteran Who Refused to Wear a Mask Dies of Coronavirus Complications CBS DFW "This is a single patient," Morian continued. "The impact our teams have on so many more right now is overwhelming." Castillo was finally discharged from Medical City on July 15, 79 days after she arrived. While speaking to KTVT, she admitted the deadly virus didn't worry her before it completely upended her life. "Maybe if I would have just listened and worn a mask, just a simple thing, I would have avoided all this," she told the news station. "I work at a bank, I’m always around people, but I was like, ‘I’m fine, I’m fine.’ Never did I think I’d catch it," Castillo said. Coronavirus Deaths Are Going Up in Most Regions of the U.S. as New Cases Continue to Soar Wearing masks has become a topic of heated debate in the country four months after states began adopting social-distancing restrictions to slow the spread of the disease. Research has shown cloth face coverings help in public settings and when social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. On July 4, a 37-year-old Ohio Army veteran died of the coronavirus two months after he criticized the use of face masks in a social media post. RELATED VIDEO: Broadway Star Nick Cordero Dies at 41 After Over 90 Days in Hospital from Coronavirus Complications Coronavirus cases have continued to rise around the country. As of Friday, the United States has seen more than 3.6 million cases and 138,753 deaths attributed to the disease, according to a New York Times' database. As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.