Ontario husband and wife with COVID-19 die within days of each other
TORONTO -- For the past week, 91-year-old Ted Pollock had been mourning the death of his wife, Jean, who died last weekend after becoming infected with COVID-19.
Pollock, a resident of Pinecrest Nursing Home in Bobcaygeon, Ont., where the deadly virus has killed more than 20 people, was forced to grieve the loss of his wife of 29 years alone inside the facility.
Seven days after his wife’s death, Pollock also died of COVID-19.
His niece, Marni Pollock, said the back-to-back loss has left her feeling numb.
"To know that somebody died alone and cold in a room in an institution … it's just an awful way to go, I couldn't imagine being sick and not having my family be able to come in and just hold my hand while I passed,” Marni told CTV News.
Pollock, a retired insurance salesman who loved to fish and hunt, is the 22nd resident to die of COVID-19 at the nursing home, where a third of all residents have died and more than half of employees have tested positive for the virus.
Pollock’s older brother, Rob Pollock, said it’s difficult to process the sudden loss.
“I just can’t fathom it,” Rob said. “There’s no word to describe it.”
The 95-year-old who survived a polio scare as a teenager back in the 1950s said he’s never seen anything like the devastation of COVID-19.
“It’s unbelievably scary. I just can't believe that a little virus can turn around and make such a huge event in the world.
Nursing homes across Canada has been ravaged by COVID-19. The country’s very first coronavirus death was reported last month in a B.C. long-term care home. As of Saturday, the virus has been detected in more than 600 long-term facilities throughout the country.
The deaths of Jean and Ted Pollock come with another devastating blow. Because of physical distancing restrictions, the family has no choice but to delay a celebration of life.
"There is no closure. There is no gathering. There's no holding of hands … It’s empty,” Marni said.
Marni says Canadians need to recognize the value of following the advice of healthcare and government officials, who have urged Canadians to practice physical distancing and stay at home whenever possible.
“We absolutely have to play by the rules ... We need to stop. There will be more families than mine that have this tragedy happen to them,” Marni said.
More than 11,000 Canadians have been infected with the disease as of Saturday, and at least 233 people have died of the virus.