ST. PETE, Fla. — A St. Pete woman has been hospitalized for more than a week after contracting COVID-19, and her friends said she will need both legs amputated because of complications from the virus.
20-year-old Claire Bridges was born with a heart condition and contracted the virus in January.
Her friends said she is hospitalized at Tampa General Hospital. They also said she was vaccinated when she tested positive.
"When they got her there, her levels were all messed up, her kidneys. She had to be put on dialysis," said Heather Valdes.
Heather Valdes works with Bridges at Grassroots Kava House in St. Pete. The two are also roommates.
Valdes said Bridges will need both legs amputated and surgery is scheduled for Tuesday.
"They kind of braced themselves for a reaction of fear and just being really upset and Claire was very calm and peaceful. She just looked at them and she whispered, 'I want bionic legs,'" said Valdes.
Valdes said Bridges remains in an intensive care unit and on life support.
"She was unconscious, but now she's awake and actually really aware of what's going on. Her mother has seen her," said Valdes.
People are leaving positive messages for Bridges in a jar at work.
"We have a jar at Grassroots where people leave encouraging notes for her and I emptied them out and we made this book for her so her mom can read it to her at the hospital. Every time I empty the jar, I look at her picture and [think], 'Woah, I'm doing this for Claire.' It's still a shock to me," said Valdes.
Valdes started a GoFundMe page to raise money online to help with medical bills and her recovery. She has raised nearly $80,000.
A fundraiser called Climbing for Claire is set for February 24. Find more info here.