MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A liver infection sent Janet Nix to the hospital in March. Weeks after her procedure, the 70-year-old died from COVID-19. As WCCO found in our ongoing series Faces of COVID-19, her sudden decline has left her family struggling to find closure.

“She was a friend to everybody and she made everyone feel like family,” Deb Perna, Janet’s daughter, said. “I feel she was cheated.”

Her kids called her the glue that held them together, a mother and grandmother who never met a stranger.

“She knew all my neighbors before you did? Before we did,” her son, Curt Nix said.

Janet Nix went to the hospital in March for a liver procedure. She was also a diabetic and worried about the pandemic.

“She was very fearful of COVID,” her daughter said.

(credit: CBS)

Eventually, Janet was moved to St. Therese in New Hope to recover, the site of what would become one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in the state. Three weeks later, Janet went home.

“One night of a fever,” Perna said.

Between a persistent cough and no strength, she went downhill quickly.

“I said, ‘There’s just something wrong. We have to get her back to the hospital,'” her son said.

It’s where Janet tested positive for COVID-19.

“The next day they said, ‘Yep, she does have COVID. We’re going to have to ventilate her. All this happened within a day, and she was gone the next day,'” Perna said.

Then, her son came down with similar symptoms at a time when tests were not readily available.

“By Saturday, I was having the high temp, the aches, shortness of breath. Had them all except for the headache,” Curt Nix recalled.

An antibody test later confirmed Curt had it.  Janet’s grandson did, too. Both are now OK, but the family still aches their loss.

“You don’t have that closure yet,” Deb Perna said. “She’s deeply missed by a lot of people.”

They hope an outside service in September will help to honor their mother.

If you’d like to share any memories of someone you’ve lost to COVID-19, send an e-mail to tips@wcco.com.

Liz Collin

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