Texas family who battled COVID-19 & lost grandfather to the virus urge continued social distancing

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AUSTIN (Nexstar) — A Texas family shared their story to demonstrate how serious the coronavirus can get, even for those with no underlying medical issues.

Nancy and Robert Pierce both started showing COVID-19 symptoms almost immediately after they returned from a family trip to Florida back in mid-March.

“The entire time I had pain in the top of my lungs, it felt like my lungs were almost like burning,” Nancy explained.

At the time of the trip, everything was open – restaurants, salons, gyms still operating as normal, no travel restrictions, and the Governor’s stay-home order was still weeks away.

A Texas family is urging Texans to continue social distancing after battling COVID-19 themselves, and then losing the girls’ grandfather to the virus.

“He fell sick. You know, I was hours later about 10 hours later,” Nancy said.

Both she and Robert said they have no underlying health issues. However, days later, Robert tested positive for COVID-19.

Managing their 7-year-old twins at home became a struggle, Robert said even getting up to get the kids food was difficult.

“We were we were pretty incapacitated for a while,” he said. “You think you’re better and then it just gets way worse.”

There was a bigger concern, however.

“My father in Florida, the very next day fell sick, as well,” Nancy said, adding that the 77-year-old was hospitalized soon after.

“I thought my dad was stable until the day that a nurse practitioner called me and said, ‘Listen, your father’s going to pass away in the next 24 to 48 hours because all his organs have failed,” Nancy said, explaining she was never able to speak to her father on the phone while he was hospitalized.

He later passed away.

“It’s horrible, like you have no contact with your family member who dies. It’s like you never even get to say goodbye,” Nancy explained.

Governor Abbott said this week he expects more cases as the state begins to reopen, and says containment is largely dependent on personal responsibility.

“If Texans stop using the distancing strategies that they have been utilizing over the past month, they will cause an increase in COVID transmission,” Gov. Abbott said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

Nancy said she hopes everyone listens to these social distancing recommendations, and urges everyone to stay home as much as possible.

“It’s not just thinking of yourself, please think of other people and your other family,” Nancy said, “You don’t know how you’re going to get it. So you just have to pretend like everything’s contaminated and just stay away from people…stay away from things that could be carrying it.”

Nancy explained there was some confusion with her test. She said the results were not clear, but was a presumptive positive because someone else in her household tested positive.

Hunter Pierce, one of the 7-year-old twins, also began showing symptoms days after her parents. She was treated for pneumonia, and weeks later tested negative for COVID-19, but because of that timing, the family still believes she might have had COVID-19.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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