A year after the COVID-19 Superspreader, the family discovers closure

Sedro-Woolley, Washington (AP) — With dishwashing liquid, brushes, and a plastic jug, Carrollley Woodmancy’s four children cleaned a tombstone that their mother shared with her father Jim. .. Each scrub shined with engraved letters spelling out the mother’s name and the days of life and death: March 27, 1939 and March 27, 2020.

Carol died on her 81st birthday.

That morning, it’s been a year since he died of COVID-19 complications after being infected with COVID-19 during chorus practice, where 53 people became ill and two died.

For the brothers, the melancholy anniversary offered a chance to close after the pandemic prevented their mourning. They finally held a monument worthy of their mother’s footsteps in the community.

“The hardest part was that we didn’t say goodbye. She just seemed to disappear,” said Carol’s youngest child, Wendy Jensen.

After cleaning, the brothers recall. They say their father must be happy to come back with his wife, 46 years old. They thank them for being good parents and remember how their mother said “my” before calling their name or the names of other loved ones.

“I was always’my Bonnie’,” Bonnie Dawson tells her brother. “I miss being’my bonnie’.”

“She had lost her dad for a long time,” adds her eldest brother, Linda Hallman. Their father Jim died in 2003.

Carroll was one of the first of the more than 550,000 people who died of the virus in the United States. Her death occurred just weeks after the first reported outbreak at Kirkland’s Nursing Home, about an hour south of Mount Vernon. Carol, who survived heart surgery and cancer, became ill at home. Bonnie took care of her until they called for an ambulance.

“You are trying to say goodbye to your mom, and they are telling you to come back. It was very hard and emotional to have to shout,” Mom, I love you. ” She didn’t want to be near our house, so she was taken out of the door with a man standing in our yard 10 feet away. “Bonnie said.

Two weeks before Governor Jay Inslee closed the state, a rehearsal of the Skagit Valley Choir, a community choir consisting primarily of retirees and unrelated to the church they practiced, took place. .. The choir took precautions known at the time, such as distance and disinfection. However, someone was infected with the virus.

“The choir itself called us directly and they left a voicemail. The voicemail said that 24 positive people in the choir were ill.” Lee Hamner, leader of infectious diseases and epidemiology in Skagit County Public Health, said. “It soon became clear that we had a big problem.”

Hamner and her team went to work to interview members of the choir and the people they contacted after practice, a total of 122 people. They meticulously spliced ​​the night together, tracking where people were sitting, who ate cookies and stacked chairs, and more.

That level of access and details is rare in the Outbreak survey, Hamner said. So, when the number of cases decreased in the county a few weeks later, she sat down and wrote a report.

“There was a lot of resistance to calling it an aerial infection,” Hamner said. “But we found that this midpoint of the disease could be both droplets and levitation, so it was a big change. After the treatise, the CDC began to recognize airborne transmission. I did. “

The outbreak, which was notorious after the Los Angeles Times article, urged other researchers to study the event, further consolidating the conclusion that the virus had traveled through the air during rehearsals.

Linsey Marr, a professor at Virginia Tech and an expert in aerial propagation, said: Ma was one of 239 experts who urged the World Health Organization to change its communication guidelines.

Another person who died in choral practice was 83-year-old Nancy “Nicki” Hamilton. Hamilton is from New York and settled north of Seattle in the 1990s. She put up a personal ad to Everett Herald, and that’s how she met her husband.

“We went to Everett’s bowling alley,” said 85-year-old Victor Hamilton. “I picked it up from there.”

Hamilton was unable to open the monument for her. Their family is spread all over the country and he wants to have it in New York City if possible. He’s June 21st — aiming for her birthday.

In nearby Mount Vernon, family and friends flow into the Radius Church, staring at an installation of dozens of Carroll’s photographs compiled by his brothers. Wendy is also exhibiting a quilt made by her daughter using Carroll’s Music Camp T-shirt.

Rev. Ken Hubbard tells attendees that this service is not really a funeral, but a monument and an opportunity to share stories about Carroll.

“I’m sure her prayer saved my life for an hour or two,” says grandson David Woodmansee.

Lovers remember Carroll’s family, faith, and dedication to music. Others remember how she welcomed them into their families, gave piano lessons, and volunteered for her church.

They sing her favorite hymn, “Blessed Assurance.” The lyrics were in her last words from the hospital to her children.

After worship, the family returns to the graveyard to bloom. They also sang and ended the day with a spontaneous “Happy Birthday” production full of smiles.

Wendy then looked back at the choir’s practice of being infected with the virus and focused on the knowledge gained from the knowledge that helped her mother proceed with preventative measures.

“As far as we know, it was God’s plan and she helped.”

“I think my mother would be willing to give up her life to save her life. It was the kind of person she was,” Bonnie said.