MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Florida health officials say Richard Curren died from the coronavirus. The 77-year-old and his wife lived at Atria Willow Wood Assisted Living Facility in Fort Lauderdale.
His family says Curren had diabetes and COPD and had suffered a heart attack years earlier.
Curren became sick about 10 days ago, then he died. His wife, Sheila, said she never expected it.
“I’m still in shock,” she said. “He had a respiratory thing and it landed him in the hospital and I didn’t think it was gonna turn into anything that they couldn’t treat.”
His daughter, Tracy Wieder, said Curren was the primary caregiver for Sheila, who is wheelchair-bound, lifting her out of the chair multiple times a day and bathing her and dressing her.
“I feel the state is trying to paint the picture of a sickly old man who coronavirus struck him and killed him and somehow the rest of are safe because we’re not sickly and old, which is completely false,” she said.
His son, Erik, is devastated.
“We’re very shocked,” Erik Curren said. “This is terrible. We thought he’d be around for a while. The hardest part is not being able to say goodbye and that’s something I’ll always regret.”
Curren’s wife and daughter are quarantined but say they feel fine.
“I have no symptoms,” Sheila said.“I don’t even have a runny nose.”
The Curren family said the Broward Health Department called them and said they want Sheila tested. However, she now lives in Miami with her Tracy. Tracy said they’ve unable to reach health officials in Miami. They want to know if Sheila is ill or if she’s clear.
Dr. Aileen Marty is an Infectious Disease doctor and a professor at the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine at Florida International University. She said Florida’s Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nunez asked her and her FAST (Florida Advanced Surgical and Transport) team to visit the Atria facility in Fort Lauderdale on Wednesday.
“We’re going to be reevaluating how they’re treating patients,” she said. “I’ll give them some medical guidance. I’ll be training their individuals on reducing risk.”
Dr. Marty said the goal will be to try and figure out who else at the facility, if anyone, has coronavirus.
“Every single person there and staff is going to be tested for Covid to see if any of those are asymptomatic carriers and isolate those who are positive and proceed on with isolating for any contacts of those who might be positive,” she explained.
The family of Richard Curren is grieving their sudden loss and they hope everyone listening heeds their warning.
“We want everyone to take it seriously,” Wieder said. “Don’t overreact but you need to stop gathering. You need to stop gathering. We have to stop the community spread.”
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