Merle Tofte and Dee Tofte, Vancouver, Washington state couple die of coronavirus five hours apart say goodbye via FaceTime.
An elderly married couple in Washington state have died of coronavirus only five hours apart — with hospital staff saying the long time husband and wife only allowed to say goodbye over FaceTime, according to a local report.
Merle Tofte, 86, and Dee Tofte, 85, of Vancouver, died March 16 at Peacehealth Southwest Medical Center, KATU reports.
The pair were together with family — including their five children — less than a month ago to celebrate Dee’s 85th birthday, daughter Michelle Taylor told the outlet.
But just two weeks later, both Merle and Dee — suffering from difficulty breathing, a cough and a fever — were hospitalized and tested positive for the deadly bug.
Neither traveled or even went out much so it’s unclear how they got sick.
Family members were not allowed to visit the pair in the hospital — with staff setting up a FaceTime call before both succumbed to the illness.
‘It’s heartbreaking,’ Taylor recalled.
‘The staff [at Peacehealth Southwest Medical Center] was amazing. They did something I will be forever grateful for. They set up a FaceTime call with my parents, each in a different room, with a chaplain with their grandchildren and children so we could all say goodbye to them. We will all be forever grateful for that.’
Both were laid to rest Wednesday and the family couldn’t be there.
‘I understand it, I do, because everyone has to make sacrifices right now. But this is a huge one for us,’ Taylor said. ‘But it’s OK, it’s the right thing to do. We will have a celebration of life later.’
Taylor was ordered to self-isolate after being in close contact with her elderly parents. The quarantine was lifted Thursday.
‘I can’t be with my loved ones,’ she posted to Facebook Monday.
‘I can’t comfort my children whom have lost their grandparents. I can’t hold a service for my parents or attend their burial. Funeral homes are closed. It is believed they contracted COVID-19 through community spread. I wanted time and privacy to grieve but if their story can save a life, it needs to be told.’