President Donald Trump could be discharged from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center as early as Monday, according to his doctors, but only if his condition "continued to improve." Navy Cmdr. Dr. Sean Conley, Trump's physician, provided a press briefing on Sunday to give an update on the president's health.
The president's blood oxygen levels dropped on Saturday to 93%, but the president did not feel short of breath and doctors determined that he did not require supplemental oxygen. To counter the situation, physicians administered a dose of the steroid dexamethasone. As of Sunday's press conference, Trump's blood oxygen levels were at 98%.
Trump did receive supplemental oxygen on Friday before he was transported to the medical center.
"As with any illness there are particular ups and downs over the course especially when a patient is being so closely watched 24 hours a day," Conley said outside the medical center in Bethesda, Maryland. "I'd like to reiterate how pleased we all are with the president's recovery."
"The president wanted me to share how proud he is of the group, what an honor it is for him to be receiving his care here at Walter Reed and be surrounded by such incredible talent: academic leaders, department chairs, internationally renowned researchers and clinicians, including the support of Dr. Garibaldi from Johns Hopkins," Conley added.
Dr. Brian Garibaldi, a specialist in pulmonary critical care, said the president completed his second dose of Remdesivir and has not exhibited any side effects "that we can tell." Trump's team of doctors plan to keep the president on the medication over a five-day period.
"If he continues to look and feel as well as he does today, our hope is that we can plan for a discharge as early as tomorrow to the White House where he can continue his treatment course," Garibaldi said on Sunday.
Dr. Sean Dooley, another member of the president's medical team, said on Sunday that the president is no longer complaining of shortness of breath.
"From a pulmonary standpoint, he remains on room air this morning, and is not complaining of shortness of breath, or other significant respiratory symptoms," Dooley said. "He is ambulating himself walking around the White House medical unit, without limitation or disability. Our continued monitoring of his cardiac, liver and kidney function demonstrates continued normal findings, or improving findings."
The team of doctors plan to have the president "out of bed" as much as possible on Sunday.
Late Saturday night, Conley said Trump was "not yet out of the woods," but the medical team was "cautiously optimistic."
Conley found himself in a wave of controversy after contradicting statements about the president's condition swirled on Saturday. Conley informed reporters that Trump was doing "very well" and that many of his coronavirus symptoms had gone away. Meanwhile, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said medical officials were "real concerned" about the president's condition before he was hospitalized.
Conley defended himself by saying, "I was trying to reflect the upbeat attitude of the team, that the president, that his course of illness has had."
"I didn't want to give any information that might steer the course of illness in another direction, and in doing so it came off that we were trying to hide something, which wasn't necessarily true," Conley added.
"So, the chief and I work side by side, and I think his statement was misconstrued," Conley explained. "What he meant was that 24 hours ago, when he and I were checking on the president, that there was that momentary episode of the high fever and that temporary drop in the saturation, which prompted us to act expediently to move him up here. Fortunately, that was really a very transient, limited episode. A couple hours later he was back up. Mild again. I'm not going to speculate what that limited episode was about so early in the course but he's doing well."
Trump provided an update on his COVID-19 diagnosis and thanked everyone for the well-wishes in a four-minute video posted Saturday night.
"I came here, I wasn't feeling so well. I feel much better now," the president said. "We're working hard to get me back. I have to get all the way back because we still have to make America great again. We've done an awfully good job of that but we still have steps to go and I have to finish that job. I'll be back, I think, I'll be back soon."
Several other members of President Trump's orbit also tested positive for COVID-19 in recent days, including former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former senior adviser Kellyanne Conway, senior White House adviser Hope Hicks, campaign manager Bill Stepien, personal aide Nick Luna, and first lady Melania Trump.
Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) also tested positive for coronavirus.
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