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Guest speakers warn against COVID-19 during media briefing

Ballad Health Officials included special guest speakers to stress the dangers of COVID-19 during their weekly media briefing on Wednesday. 
The first guest speaker was Vicky Livesay. 
On July 14, Livesay’s daughter, Angel, tested positive for the virus. She is 29 years old and has no known comorbidities. 
“We fully expected her to do her ten days at home and then return to work,” Livesay said. 
Livesay said her daughter was isolated in her bedroom at the family home, but they would check on her through the door to see how she was doing. After initially telling her family she was feeling better each day, things took a turn for the worse on day six. 
On day six, things seemed off and she began losing her appetite. At this point, her parents began considering taking her to the emergency room. That night, Livesay and her husband took their daughter to the hospital. During the car ride, she said she couldn’t breathe. 
While waiting to check their daughter in, she went unresponsive and was immediately whisked away. ER doctors would later inform Livesay that her daughter had COVID-19 three times, and she would most likely not make it. Angel had cardiac arrest and her lungs were completely white with COVID; blood clots were likely. She was admitted to the ICU as her family prepared for the worse. 
Angel was given 24-hour dialysis, treatment and plasma. Livesay recalled support from nurses every step of the way. The following day, they were brought in to see their daughter (it was not common and was mostly to say goodbye). 
“Nothing can really prepare you for seeing your child in that situation,” said Livesay. “I told my daughter to fight. I told her she could do this. I did not want to say goodbye.”
Slowly, Angel began improving. After 16 days, she was taken off the ventilator. On Aug. 28, 38 days after testing positive for the virus, she was discharged to go to rehab. Medical personnel cheered as she left the hospital. She spent 26 days in rehab and went home Sept. 23. 
As Livesay concluded, she urged people to pray for frontline workers and to wear masks.
The next speaker was Stefani Annett, a frontline nurse in the COVID-19 unit at JCMC. 
Annett recalled that her son asked her a few weeks ago why wearing a mask is a political thing. She did not know how to answer him. 
Annett shared that she has worn her mask for over 800 hours in a level 1 COVID-19 unit. She also chooses to wear her mask when she is not working. Wearing her mask has left her with a permanent mark on her nose, a painful scar. 
“This virus has taken a lot from a lot of people,” she explained. “Am I afraid of the virus? No. But I do respect it. This is about respect for the danger of the virus.”
Annett stressed the importance of helping others by wearing a mask, almost as an act of kindness. She went on to compare masking to being a superhero, protecting others. 
“The one thing that has gotten everyone through every circumstance in history is hope,” she said. “As we maintain hope. It gets us through the difficult time and it gets us through these challenging times.”
Jamie Swift, Chief Infection Prevention Officer, provided the latest updates on COVID-19. As of Wednesday, Oct. 28, there are 169 patients in-house being treated for the virus, with 29 in the ICU and 15 on ventilators. There are also 15 PUIs. Additionally, 181 team members are in quarantine. 
Swift stressed the importance of masking along with other guidelines. She also warned that should this flu season be severe as well; it has the potential to be horrible on the healthcare system.
Eric Deaton, Chief Operating Officer, reiterated Swift’s warnings, showed the latest models on the virus and also included concern over resources. While in great shape with PPE, Deaton worried for team members, which he considers the most valuable resource of all.
For the latest updates on Ballad Health, go to www.balladhealth.org. To find out about qualifying to donate Convalescent Plasma, call the Marsh Regional Blood Center at 423-203-5640.