Four members of the same family have died after testing positive for Covid-19 – within weeks of celebrating Christmas Day together.
Tracy Latham says her life was ruined after the “terrible” loss of her partner, 48-year-old Darren Fisher.
Her family had been screened since March but met after the government relaxed lockdown rules for a festive season day.
Tracy, from Derbyshire, was due to get married this July after spending 12 years together.
During that time, Darren helped raise three of Tracy’s children from a previous relationship into adulthood. reports DerbyshireLive.
The 50-year-old mother of three said Darren contracted the disease when he walked to his parents’ home for just two hours.
This time together was enough for him and several family members to sign Covid-19. She believes this would not have happened if the government had stopped meeting the people on Christmas Day.
Over the following week, Darren, his parents Pat and David Fisher, aged 79 and 82, and his uncle Michael Wilson, who was in his early 70s, all tested positive for the disease.
All of them have since passed away, and another of Darren’s uncle, Geoffrey, who also has the disease, is still recovering from a serious illness.
Tracy says the only family member who had an underlying health condition was Pat, who had diabetes.
Unable to work due to long-term health, Tracy says she was devastated by the death of four close family members in such a short time.
She said, “We don’t really know who passed it on.
“Nobody was sick – Mick had a little tickling, but that was all.
“Darren’s mother said ‘We have my brother (Michael) come’ because they were all shielded.
“So they spent the day together – Pat and David and Michael and his partner Gladis.
“Darren came over to them for a few hours to say hello as they hadn’t seen each other in ages. It was a quick flight visit around 9pm.”
Things started to go wrong when Pat, who fell and injured her leg on Boxing Day, was admitted to the Royal Derby Hospital on December 27th.
“She was starting to feel tired and run down,” said Tracey.
“A few days later, she tested positive for coronavirus as her condition got worse.”
Pat’s positive test result came through just days after arriving at the hospital, ruling out the possibility of her getting caught on the ward.
Then it got worse when Darren started showing symptoms of the disease.
“Darren caught a bit of cold and started breathing,” said Tracy.
“He was really having trouble breathing and we called an ambulance on December 29th.”
Tracy hoped his condition would improve, but the situation did not improve.
“I got a call from Darren on Friday to say they would put him on a ventilator,” she said.
“I told him to do the right thing and those were the last words I said to him.
“He was on the ventilator for nine days.
“At one point it looked really bad and they said I had to come in and talk to him. I was there and said ‘you really have to fight this’.”
What Darren would not have known at the time is that his mother and father had already passed away. David died on January 4th and Pat died on January 6th.
“His uncle is in the next bay at the same time,” said Tracy.
“I said ‘you have to keep fighting’. It was absolutely terrible.”
Unfortunately, Darren did not recover and died on January 11th when his uncle Michael died a few days later.
Pat, Darren and Michael all died within a week at the Royal Derby Hospital, while David, who had dementia, died in a convalescent home he was staying in while Pat was in the hospital.
David tested positive for Covid after his death and Tracy believes he is the person who passed it on to Geoffrey, who went around to help him while Pat was in the hospital.
A date for their funerals has not yet been set. The arrangements are on hold until Geoffrey is good enough to organize them.
“I wish Boris had said no one could visit for Christmas,” she said.
“Then, to get up and say I’m sorry for all the lives that have been lost, he has no idea.
“The government didn’t do enough – the lockdown was too late. I think they have blood on their hands and not a lot of standing there is going to change it.
“That won’t bring my loved ones back.”
Right now, Tracy thinks about the wonderful memories she had of Darren and his parents.
“He helped me raise my three children for 12 years,” she said.
“He had worked at Sainsbury’s for 18 years and people always said he had a smile on his face.
“You were a lovely family – the best mother and father you could hope for. Your door was always open to you. There was a whole Derby family and so nice.
“Darren was a Derby County fan, it was his life. He went to every game he could with his friends and he loved watching darts.”
She has a strong warning for people who she believes are not taking the pandemic seriously.
“We’re all just shocked and devastated,” said Tracy.
“Please, you have to take this really seriously. Darren’s mother and father were shielded for almost a year thinking they were safe and sound.
“It shows that it can happen to anyone in the blink of an eye.”