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7 North Texas family members get COVID-19, including 88-year-old great-grandmother

After two weeks in the hospital with COVID-19, 88-year-old Marie Smith was discharged. Six others in her family are also recovering from coronavirus.

ARLINGTON, Texas — Since the pandemic started, Andrea Long says her family has been cautious. A stack of masks sits by the doorway of her Arlington home.

“You’re going to always need a mask when you go out,” said Andrea. 

“From March until now, we took it seriously, and then June 20, [COVID-19] walked into the house,” she said.

On that day, her 88-year-old mother had alarmingly low oxygen levels. An ambulance picked up Marie Smith and took her to the hospital. Soon after, Andrea learned her mother tested positive for COVID-19.

The rest of the family, who had been in contact with Marie, decided to get tested too. Seven adult family members tested positive. Marie's great-grandson is less than a year old, so his physician is monitoring his health. 

Andrea had light symptoms, which seemed like allergies to her, but said she was otherwise asymptomatic.

Her brother, Lewis Long, said he had mild symptoms too. Lewis, from New York, actually picked up his mother from North Carolina to bring her to Arlington. The thought was she could be safer being taken care of by his sister in Texas. 

“There became issues related to just caregivers coming to the house in North Carolina,” said Lewis. 

It also meant Marie could meet her great-grandson for the first time. They were in Arlington for more than two weeks before Marie got sick.

The Long siblings never imagined they would be calling the hospital daily to check on their mom’s condition. 

“Mindblowing, you know?” said Lewis. “COVID is real. For the people who believe it is fake news or a joke, it is really not a joke.”

They feel lucky that their COVID story has turned out positive so far. Marie was discharged from the hospital on Thursday morning after two weeks. 

She said, “I felt lonely. I felt sad. And I felt that the doctors were taking care of me.” 

She is frail and her body is still working to fight off COVID-19, but she has improved a lot.

The other six family members diagnosed with COVID-19 are also on their way to a full recovery.

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