Unbearable loss: One Alabama family, 3 dead, 9 positive tests of coronavirus

Unbearable loss: One Alabama family, 3 dead, 9 positive tests of coronavirus

GADSDEN, Ala. — From the White House to the state house, and many of the houses throughout this community, people are clamoring to reopen the country.

In the houses of the Woods, Posey and Porter families — all relatives — they think that’s a mistake.

While others talk about reopening their businesses, these families are preparing to close the caskets of three family members.

In one week’s time, they lost Phacethia Posey, her father Billy Ray Woods, and cousin Michael Woods to COVID-19.

Tyrone Posey said when the novel coronavirus started making news, his wife, Phacethia, began researching. The couple and other family members started doing the things they heard would help.

Phacethia and Tyrone Posey are pictured. Phacethia died from COVID-19 on April 13, 2020.

“We were over steam,” he said, “and took vitamins.” Phacethia took other suggested remedies — elderberry and zinc.

“To think that she’s gone because of that virus,” Posey said.

Phacethia Posey died April 13, after spending seven days hospitalized.The tragedy of her passing is only part of the story for her family.

On Saturday, Billy Ray Woods, Phacethia’s father, died, and so did Michael Woods.

Posey, Phacethia’s mother Barbara Woods, sister Johnjalene Woods, Kyra Porter and her husband Tony, all tested positive for COVID-19 — a total of nine family members.

Porter said Tyrone Posey Jr. was the first to get sick; Porter’s father was the first to be hospitalized, on March 30.

Billy Ray And Barbara Woods are pictured. Billy Ray died from COVID-19 on Saturday, April 18, 2020.

“After that, we all started getting tested,” Kyra Porter said. Porter said she sought testing at an urgent care facility in Gadsden, but was told they only had three tests and they were testing sparingly.

“They said I didn’t have serious symptoms,” she said, although she had a fever, coughing and chills.

As some of the family members got sick, Johnjalene Woods took care of them. “She was asymptomatic,” Porter said, but she also tested positive for COVID-19.

Family members quarantined themselves, they said, and continue to as some family members still are recovering.

Kyra and Tony Porter live in Anniston. Billy Ray and Barbara Woods, Phacethia, Tyrone Posey and their son, Tyrone Jr.; and Johnjalene Woods live about 30 miles away in Gadsden. All of them, and their cousin Michael became infected.

Kyra Porter said the family was always together on Sundays, but considering the way people fell ill, she didn’t think it was a family gathering that caused the spread.

They apparently contracted the virus in the course of normal activities, even though they were trying to avoid it. Some family members had worked in health care in the past, but were not currently.

Posey and Porter shared their family’s story Saturday, before they learned of Billy Ray and Michael’s deaths.

Posey said he believed people in Gadsden need to “wake up” to the danger of the virus that cost his wife her life, and take the social-distancing guidelines seriously.

Phacethia took medication for rheumatoid arthritis and had slight high blood pressure. She wasn’t being treated for the underlying conditions — the heart, lung and kidney problems — often cited as making people more vulnerable to the virus.

For Phacethia, he said, the virus made her very weak, “it just drained her.” Her body started shutting down, he said.

“She really was a good person,” Posey said. “She was the type person, when she left the house, she presented herself well. She didn’t go around and collect a lot of friends.”

But if social media is an indicator, Phacethia Posey had many good friends, who treasured her and her family. They have flooded Facebook in recent days with concerns for this family hit so hard by COVID-19.

They’ve shared recollections of good times, good meals cooked, and kindnesses shown, by the members of the family lost to the virus, by those recovering for it, and dealing with its aftermath.

With the toll it’s taken so far on their family, they know the seriousness of the virus and want others to know also — that’s why they spoke out.

“People aren’t taking this virus seriously,” especially, it seems the younger people, Posey said. He’s seen people come to visit hugging on each other.

“I see people out without masks, ” Posey said. “They know it’s happening, but they’re not taking it seriously.”

Porter and Posey are troubled by people shouting to reopen businesses and gathering places, as their family grieves.

Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/04/20/coronavirus-alabama-family-three-dead-9-positive-tests-covid/5163903002/

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