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Hawthorne woman loses husband to COVID-19 Delta variant, advocates for vaccine

Published: Jul. 30, 2021 at 5:20 PM EDT
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HAWTHORNE, Fla. (WCJB) -Just shy of 39 years of marriage, Trisha Gowdy’s husband, Keith died due to complications related to COVID-19. Now, she wants no one to lose a loved one the way she did.

“I’ll miss him every day for the rest of my life because he wasn’t vaccinated,” said Gowdy.

Trisha said she lived a life of adventure with her husband Keith by flying planes, riding motorbikes and exploring Florida.

“He was my best friend,” added Gowdy.

In a Facebook post on Keith’s page by Trisha, she explained how Keith’s lungs were scarred due to pneumonia caused by the COVID-19 Delta variant. Trisha said his temperature reached 103 degrees before getting to UF Health Shands hospital where he spent 16 days sedated on a ventilator.

RELATED STORY: “This is now becoming the pandemic of the unvaccinated”: COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations on the rise across NCFL

“It was so bad they didn’t do paperwork, they didn’t do anything. They got him in a room because his O2 should have at least been in the 90′s, if not high 90′s so it was really really bad by then but still he’s such a tough guy, such a fighter,” mentioned Gowdy. “I thought he was coming home until three days before he died.”

The couple had COVID-19 in the past month but since Trisha had been vaccinated, she recovered.

“The variant is just so horrendous.”

Keith died Tuesday at 68 years old with his wife and daughter by his side.

“So I think that it’s two-fold,” said Gowdy. “I think the fact that he tested negative making him believe he did not have covid did not have him take it as serious. And he waited so long to go to the hospital and really three things. He didn’t get vaccinated.”

It’s a story that hit close to home for the former mayor of Hawthorne, Matt Surrency, who is also a close family friend.

RELATED STORY: Delta variant exploits low vaccine rates, easing of rules

“Some of our local providers also now helping out whenever with vaccines but also testing kits are more available,” said Surrency. “Now we have an abundance of vaccines available and testing facilities available, it’s just a matter of getting rid of hesitancy is the biggest thing.”

Now a Hawthorne city commissioner, Surrency works with UF health’s COVID-19 vaccine steering committee to share information about the vaccine and how to get one.

“Continue to reach out, give people the right information and not politicize,” said Surrency.

As he and Trisha share the same sentiment that the COVID-19 vaccine could and has saved a life.

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