MIAMI VALLEY — Tawauna Averette was someone who took COVID-19 guidelines as seriously as anyone, her longtime friend Kellye Albes-Fisher said.
“If there was anyone who followed every rule, it was her,” she said.
And yet, like a quickly-increasing number of Ohioans, in recent weeks Averette caught, and died from, COVID-19, friends tell News Center 7.
In an interview with News Center 7′s Sean Cudahy Wednesday evening, Albes-Fisher and Averette’s other friend and former nursing colleague, Carletha Pointer, said Averette died in recent days after a lengthy battle with coronavirus, leaving behind a husband and seven children – the youngest of which, born during her stay in the hospital.
“Devastating,” Albes-Fisher said to describe the loss.
“You feel cheated,” Pointer offered.
According to the friends, Averette contracted COVID-19 earlier this fall. After checking into the hospital with worsening symptoms, they said doctors elected to perform an emergency c-section on Averette’s infant daughter; a delivery that, tragically, would prove to be the only time she was with her youngest child, they said.
“(Nurses) took the baby out of the room – that was it,” Albes-Fisher said. “She never got to bond, hold (the infant), anything.” “She got a couple pictures, videos, hoping she would get out. It didn’t work that way.”
Throughout most of her weeks-long hospital stay, Averette posted about her coronavirus battle on her Facebook profile – confirmed to WHIO.
On Nov. 6, she wrote, “Y’all don’t understand what it means to not hug and kiss your kids until you can’t.”
On Nov. 14, days after asking for prayers, she wrote, “God heard you…they took me off the ventilator today about 5:30…please continue to send up prayers.”
“She would call us in the middle of the night, fighting, fighting,”Albes-Fisher said.
But ultimately, Averette’s condition would again worsen, with complications from COVID-19 claiming her life.
In a statement to WHIO Wednesday, Kettering Health Network said, “We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Tawauna Averette. She was a beloved and valued member of our Kettering Health Network team, and our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends in this time of loss.”
It’s a loss Averette’s friends told News Center 7, many in the community will feel.
“She was loved by many and will be missed by many,” Pointer said.
Averette’s friends added, they hope this loss inspires others in the community still skeptical on COVID-19 health guidelines to follow them more closely.
Pointer revealed what she believes Averette would tell others.
“To mask up. And if you don’t want it to protect yourself, protect others.”