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’She doesn’t want to go out this way’: 104-year-old Carroll County woman battles coronavirus

Mary Jett tested positive for COVID-19 on May 14

104-year-old woman fighting COVID-19
104-year-old woman fighting COVID-19

CARROLL COUNTY, Va. – A 104-year-old Carroll County grandmother continues to battle the coronavirus, more than 30 days after her diagnosis. Her family said while she was starting to recover, she got pneumonia, which sent her back to the hospital.

Mary Jett tested positive for COVID-19 on May 14. She has been tested multiple times and received a positive result each time, according to her family.

“Thought it would only be a couple weeks. Unfortunately, it’s been a lot longer," said Franklin Jett, her grandson. “It’s difficult when you can’t see your loved one, you can’t talk to them – it’s hard to get information about how they’re doing.”

Mary lives at Hillsville Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center in Carroll County.

In mid-March, her nursing home suspended visitation under guidance from Gov. Ralph Northam and her family has not seen her since.

While Mary may be 104, Franklin said she was very active and rarely sick.

“The staff has done everything possible to take care of the residents," said Franklin. "It’s just been very difficult on them. They had a lot of staff that were sick themselves.”

In nearby Galax, where other nursing homes have been hit hard as well, City Manager Keith Barker admits the numbers are startling.

[Galax, Carroll County see spike in coronavirus cases]

“We have a disproportionate number that are in our nursing homes," stated Galax City Manager Keith Barker.

“It spreads very easily in those congregate settings," added Jett.

The Jett family passed along this advice to others in the shoes: be their advocate.

Franklin encouraged asking as many questions as you can and checking on your loved ones daily so they know they are not alone in the fight.

Even while struggling to breathe in the hospital, Jett said his grandmother is in ‘great’ spirits but wants this all be over.

“She’s told us a long time ago that, ‘I’m 104 and I’ve lived a great life. Whenever the good Lord is ready for me, I’m ready to go.’ But she doesn’t want to go out this way. We certainly don’t want her to go out this way either," said Jett.

10 News contacted Hillsville Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center for more on its response to the infections, but was told the center had no comment.

About the Author:

McKinley Strother joined the WSLS 10 News team in June 2020. He anchors Virginia Today on Saturdays and Sundays and you'll also catch him reporting during the week.