GROVE CITY, Ohio (WCMH) — As the state exceeded the 100,000 COVID-19 case mark Sunday, a central Ohio family hit extremely hard by the virus is sharing their message.
They’ve lost three loved ones to COVID-19.
After what this family has been through, they want to remind people to take the virus seriously.
The Garbrandts want people to remember behind each and every one of those 100,000-plus cases is a person with a family and in some cases, those lives are changed forever.
For this Grove City family four different family members had to be hospitalized because of the coronavirus.
Katie Garbrandt talked to NBC4 about what her family has been through over the past few months.
In a matter of days in late March, she lost her grandparents and her uncle to COVID-19.
“We’re just trying to get through it,” Garbrandt said.
All three had underlying conditions, but she says if it wasn’t for COVID-19, they would still be here today.
Garbrandt’s stepfather, Don Billups, fought for his life against the virus, too.
“We definitely missed him and struggled while he was away, so it’s good that he’s here and back to normal,” she said.
Billups was on a ventilator at Mount Carmel Grove City for weeks before going to rehab and then home.
As he was getting out of rehab, Billups had this to say about the virus he defeated.
“Don’t trivialize it. A lot of people, ‘We don’t need to wear a mask, we don’t need to do this.’ Go on a ventilator for 28 days. That’ll change your mind.”
As Ohio reached 100,848 cases Sunday, Garbrandt said we need to think about all the families affected.
“It’s a big number that a lot of people, I think, struggle with,” she said. “You hear people, ‘It’s just a number.’ A lot of people don’t know someone who’s gone through it and still think even with a number that high that it’s a joke and fake and a hoax and it’s concerning people don’t take that number seriously. That’s a high number.”
Her family doesn’t just know people who have gone through it. They love people who have gone through it.
“Just do what you can to protect you yourself, your family, and we’ll all get through it,” Garbrandt said.
Thankfully, her stepfather’s condition has improved since leaving rehab, putting weight back on, regained some of his strength, and is back at work.