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Multiple members of SC family get COVID-19 after Christmas gathering

Kathi Shepherd is worried, saying her 86-year-old father is on oxygen at a Columbia hospital after testing positive for the virus.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Health officials warned South Carolinians of a possible COVID case surge if large gatherings were held for the holidays.  

Health care officials say they are beginning to see the results of that. 

A Columbia woman says she is living a nightmare now that her entire family sick with the coronavirus.

Kathi Shepherd and her 20-year-old daughter decided not to attend any family Christmas get togethers this year due to the coronavirus.

“Not only my father, but my ex-husband, my twin sister, my older sister and my brother in law... my entire family is sick," Shepherd explains, "they were all together on Christmas day and within 24/48 hours after Christmas day they ultimately tested positive for COVID.”

Shepherd is a breast cancer survivor and says she has been dedicated to quarantining during the pandemic because of her health complications.

Her 86-year-old father Cecil is now her greatest concern. 

According to Shepherd, he’s been put on oxygen at a Columbia hospital, “He’s had a fever on and off, a cough on and off, terrible body aches, terrible appetite. When I talk to him he’s gasping for breath to talk to me and then he’s asking me to come see him and come hold his hand and I can’t do that.”

Credit: Kathi Shepherd
Kathi and her daughter video chatting her father in the hospital.

Shepherd says this is not the way 2021 was supposed to start for her family, “2021 was supposed to be the year that COVID went away, that COVID was going to be defeated, that we were going to have a vaccine, things were going to get better and to be honest in the first four days things are ten times worse than they were in 2020.”

Her plea is for everyone to do their part, “I’m just urging people to please stay home, please wear a mask. And not only for my family but for all the health care workers out there that are risking their lives for our family members and our loved ones, our neighbors.”