CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – As Florida passes 1 million cases of COVID-19, survivors are telling stories of how they’re doing and family members who have lost loved ones are also speaking out.
News4Jax on Tuesday spoke with Nancy Garrett, an 88-year-old Orange Park woman who was one of the first confirmed COVID-19 cases at Orange Park Medical Center this spring. She spent more than three weeks in the hospital before her eventual release.
Garrett said she’s mostly recovered, but there are some lingering effects.
“Weak, and I have some right-sided weakness. And I use a walker or a cane,” said Garrett, who did not use a walker or a cane prior to the illness. “I haven’t been tested for my antibodies. I guess I could go and have that done but I’m not. I’m really not afraid because I practice what I should be practicing, mask and social distancing. But it is difficult not seeing people.”
Garrett lost her husband in the months after she recovered. His death was not due to COVID-19, but he was mostly isolated in a long-term care facility when he died.
Other patients have not been as fortunate in surviving like Garrett did.
LeRoy Honsinger, 82, of Fleming Island, died of COVID-19 complications in March. His family told News4Jax they’re still saddened over his death and held Thanksgiving mostly separate from one another to be safe.
“He was there and then he wasn’t, and the hard part was saying goodbye through the window, through the glass. And nobody could go in except mom,” said Barbara Ham, his daughter.
Ham said it has been difficult watching the state record so many COVID-19 cases.
“Yes, very hard. It’s also very hard to watch people walk around in stores without masks,” she said. “I had a gentleman in a store that took his mask off and talk about how fake COVID was. This was about a month after daddy died, and I spoke up and I said, ‘Well, my dad died last month because of COVID.”