A woman from Grove City, Ohio is pleading for people to stay at home after her brother, mother and father all succumbed to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) within three days of each other, while her husband is hospitalized and on a ventilator with symptoms of the respiratory illness.
Kelly Conkey Billups told local news outlet ABC 6 that her mother, Judith Conkey, and father Lewis Conkey died Tuesday at Mt. Carmel Hospital.
“We got to say our goodbyes to both of them,” Billups told the outlet. “They did everything together, their entire life…and we did everything together as a family.”
Just two days before Billups lost her parents, her brother, David Conkey, died at a hospital in the Mahoning Valley after falling severely ill with a respiratory infection, she explained.
David had visited the family in Columbus on March 7 and 8, his sister said, prior to the country taking drastic measures to combat the spread of COVID-19.
Billups told ABC 6 that just one day after David’s visit, he began experiencing symptoms of the illness and was hospitalized in intensive care. He was placed on life support with a ventilator before his death on Sunday.
Both of Billups’ parents were diagnosed with COVID-19 on Monday and died Tuesday. Now, her husband is in the hospital battling the same symptoms of the virus.
“He is now fighting for his life, and showing some signs of improvement,” she said.
Billups went on to say that she has been quarantined at home for possible exposure to the virus, unable to be by her husband’s side. She’s now asking for others to follow the social distance guidelines in order to help contain the virus and stop the spread.
“I beg and plead for people to stay home. I don’t want anybody else to feel the pain and raw suffering we have been through,” Billups said. “It’s too much.”
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A GoFundMe page to support the Conkey & Billups Family was created by Michelle Santuomo and Candace Neff, realtors in Central Ohio who work alongside Billups.
“Please consider giving what you can, as Kelly is always one of the first to offer assistance to those in need,” the page reads.
As of Thursday morning, the GoFundMe has raised over $38,000 of its $50,000 goal from more than 750 donors.
Billups posted an update on her husband’s condition on the GoFundMe page. “Today he is still fever free, off the paralytic and still sedated but they are starting to wean him off that. He has shown normal neurological function and reflexes. Still on ventilator,” she wrote.
“Throughout the night they expect to see continuous improvement and his amazing nurse will call me the minute he is able to follow command like squeezing his hand,” she said.
“Come on babe…..baby steps in the right direction,” Billups added. “I need you here with us!!!”
As of Thursday morning, there are at least 214,461 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S. — the most worldwide — with at least 4,841 people having died from coronavirus-related illness domestically, according to a New York Times database. Johns Hopkins reports 956,588 confirmed cases globally, with 48,583 deaths.
As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. To help provide doctors and nurses on the front lines with life-saving medical resources, donate to Direct Relief here.
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