B.C. man urges people to get vaccinated after sister dies from COVID-19 | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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B.C. man urges people to get vaccinated after sister dies from COVID-19

Cory Ronningen holds a photo of his sister Kelly, who died from COVID-19.
Image Credit: Vancouver Island Health
September 11, 2021 - 9:29 AM

A Vancouver Island man is urging others to get their COVID-19 vaccinations after his sister died from the disease.

Cory Ronningen’s sister, Kelly, a 44-year-old single mother from Duncan, died Aug. 30 from COVID-19 complications. Cory said Kelly expressed a lack of trust in the COVID-19 vaccines and was influenced by conspiracy theories and misinformation, according to Vancouver Island Health’s website.

“I did tell her that she should get vaccinated but it wasn’t something she wanted to discuss,” he said, on the website.

Kelly rarely left her house and tended to visit only a couple of places. She stayed at home the first week of her illness and finally went to the hospital when it became too difficult to breathe, he said.

She was diagnosed with COVID-19 and admitted to the intensive care unit where a machine helped her to breathe the first day of her hospital stay. When that stopped working, she was intubated and placed on a ventilator where she remained for nearly a week, according to Island Health.

“It attacked her entire system. It started with her lungs, then her kidneys began to shut down, then her liver showed signs of stress,” Cory said. “When her kidneys failed they started her on dialysis and she passed a few hours later.”

Cory and his family couldn’t be at Kelly’s side as she was dying. Rather, they watched her take her last breaths through a window into her ICU room.

“It’s a shocking thing to go through – it’s been emotionally draining for our family because you spend that week on pins and needles not knowing what is going to happen, with those hours and days dragging by as you wait for that phone call from the hospital.”

One of the saddest things about his sister’s death is that it was largely preventable, he said. He is urging people who are hesitant to get vaccinated.

“Do as much research as possible – don’t listen to people filling you full of conspiracy theories and misinformation,” he said.

Cory said it took this tragic event for some of the unvaccinated people in his life to say they intend to get the shot.

“It’s just really unfortunate that it took Kelly dying from COVID for them to make that decision. The very last thing I said to her was ‘I know you are in the ICU and I will cut you a break until you go home, but I will be giving you hell about not being vaccinated until you are,” he said.

“I meant that. I just wish I was given the opportunity.”

As of Friday, Sept. 10, B.C. reported 820 new COVID-19 cases, including 253 in Interior Health, 264 in Fraser Health, 112 in Vancouver Coastal, 101 in Northern Health and 90 on Vancouver Island, according to a Ministry of Health news release issued yesterday.

There are 281 people in B.C. hospitals. Almost half of those, 135, are in intensive care units.

Of 5,850 active cases in the province, 1,824 are in the Interior Health region.

READ MORE: 9 more COVID deaths in B.C.; 820 new cases

According to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, 85.5% of eligible people 12 and older in the province have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 78% have received their second dose.


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