The doctors told the family of Dan Remillard, 43, that his time was at hand. He’d held on for six weeks, often on a ventilator, but the virus had taken a toll.
As Remillard, a working man from Woonsocket, lay unconscious at Rhode Island Hospital, those who knew and loved him gathered by Zoom to say goodbye. In a testament to how many souls Dan had touched, almost 100 were on the video call.
There was one absence: Dan’s father, Ron.
Ron, too, was gravely ill from COVID-19, at the Providence VA Medical Center.
As folks said their final words to Dan, a VA doctor phoned Ron’s wife to tell her difficult news.
Her husband, 72, had just lost his battle.
Not long after the Zoom gathering, Dan Remillard’s battle ended, too, father and son dying an hour apart, both victims of the coronavirus pandemic.
Dan got the virus first.
His wife, Liz, 41, a certified nursing assistant with the Friendly Home in Woonsocket, a skilled care facility with 126 beds, had been out with a foot injury as the pandemic began. Her first week back was in early May, working with residents who had COVID-19.
On May 4, she took a routine virus test for staffers, and two days later, although she had no symptoms, she learned she was positive.
Liz quarantined herself in their home. She soon developed moderate symptoms, including fatigue, a runny nose and no smell or taste.
Out of caution, Dan, a heavy-equipment operator with the Woonsocket Water Department, also locked down at home.
By May 9, Dan began having symptoms, too – chills with a light fever. He got tested and learned May 10 he had COVID-19.
He quarantined in a room as well.
The Remillards’ 8-year-old daughter, Avabella, was also positive but had no symptoms. Their 17-year-old son, Gavin, tested negative, and everyone worked to protect him, masking up when they left their rooms.
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SOURCE: USA Today; The Providence Journal, Mark Patinkin