9 members of the same family hospitalized for COVID-19, 3 have died

3 East Ala. relatives die, 6 in hospital due to COVID-19

ETOWAH COUNTY, Ala. (WBRC) - The coronavirus has taken an especially heavy toll on a family in East Alabama.

Three members of the family, Phacethia Posey, her father Billy Ray Woods, both of Gadsden, and his nephew/her cousin, Michael Woods of Anniston, all died from COVID-19.

Six other members of the family have also been diagnosed and were hospitalized, after being tested at a drive-thru clinic in Rainbow City.

One of the six who contracted the disease, Kyra Porter, tells WBRC FOX6 News no one knows how it was spread.

“We weren’t out and about or partying, we were just kind of limiting where we went, we would go to the store and home, I would go to therapy and back home, but nothing more,” says Porter.

“We’ve asked the question, why us? Why our family? But, the response we get from God is, why not? So, we’re just trying to hold up, heal physically as well as mentally and get through this,” she adds.

Kyra Porter says she’s against the idea of opening the state back up too early and risking other people getting the disease.

She says she wouldn't wish it on anyone.

Porter said, “I’d say, think twice before you go. I wouldn’t go unless I absolutely had to. One of my sisters who had it was asymptomatic. She was taking care of us, and she didn’t know she had it. And my mom originally tested negative, but she went to the emergency room and was positive.”

Porter says she followed the news closely since it broke in China. When it spread to the U.S., she and her family immediately began taking steps to avoid it.

"We did everything and then some," she says, including taking zinc, vitamins C & D, elderberry, and steam.

And of course, they washed their hands.

“Both of my sisters’ hands were burnt because they had washed them so much their hands were burnt on the backside of them,” she said.

All three relatives will be laid to rest Wednesday and due to social distancing, not all of the famliy, even immediate family, will be able to attend.

Porter has some advice for everyone: stay at home, and practice social distancing and hygiene.

“Be careful, take every precaution. Don’t be so eager to get back out and start doing things, practice, practice, practice, social distancing. Wash your hands, stay out of your faces,” Porter says.

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