Watch Victorian teenager Saela share her COVID-19 near-death story

A high school student has told of her harrowing ordeal after she found herself near death due to COVID-19 last month.

17-year-old Saela and her mother Michelle fronted journalists during Victoria's daily press conference on Wednesday to tell of their family's trauma.

After contracting COVID-19 from her sister's daycare, three generations of the family ended up positive with the virus.

Two of them ended up desperately ill in hospital, including Saela who was put into a coma and had to have an emergency tracheostomy so that she could breathe through the fluid that was rapidly filling her lungs.

The scar on her neck, she said, will become a forever reminder of how close she came to losing her life to the virus.

"I spent a month in hospital and nine days in ICU," she said.

"I woke up with wires coming out of my neck."

At the time, she was the youngest person on a ventilator in Box Hill Hospital.

"I thought I was safe, I was young," said the student.


In the wake of her ordeal she has had to learn to walk again and has spent a lot of time in physiotherapy attempting to regain her strength.

"I don't know what the long term effects will be for me," Saela said.

"I thought I was safe [because] I was young.

"There's a lot of people who think they're young and COVID won't affect them. But I almost died."

While Saela was already in hospital, her father's health began to deteriorate due to COVID-19. He began to cough up blood.

HARROWING: Saela and her mother Michelle share their family's traumatic story during Wednesday's press conference.

HARROWING: Saela and her mother Michelle share their family's traumatic story during Wednesday's press conference.

Saela's mother, Michelle relayed on Wednesday the overwhelming feelings she experienced as the virus took its toll on her family.

"I was watching another family member be taken away to another hospital in an ambulance and I was helpless," Michelle said.

Because she was also COVID positive, she was unable to seek comfort from broader family or friends.

"You're alone, no-one can comfort you. It's one of the worst feelings I've ever had."


Saela and Michelle passionately advocated for people to "at least think about" getting a vaccination, believing it was ultimately the family's saving grace.

Of the eight members that contracted the virus, the two elderly grandparents were fully vaccinated and experienced only mild symptoms.

Michelle and her husband were partially vaccinated and fared better than the children who were all ineligible for vaccinations at the time.

"I do believe she [Saela] would not have been so sick if she was vaccinated," Michelle said.

"No family should have to go through what we went through. No family should have to watch their child nearly die."

The family's message to the community is "it's up to them to get vaccinated".

"I'm not here to force them [to get vaccinated], I'm just here to tell my story and this is what happened to us," Michelle said.

"I just hope the same thing doesn't happen to them [those who remain unvaccinated]."

This story 'I thought I was safe, I was young': 17-year-old's near-death COVID experience first appeared on Bendigo Advertiser.