90-year-old resident of Life Care Center, Washington nursing home hit by COVID-19, recovers from virus

Geneva Wood photographed with her daughter after finding out she's tested negative for COVID-19. (Photo Credit: The Family of Geneva Wood’)

A 90-year-old woman who had contracted COVID-19 at the the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Washington, which became an early epicenter of the nation’s novel coronavirus outbreak, was declared free of the disease on March 22, as her family welcomed her back with hugs of relief. 

Geneva Wood had checked into the Life Care Center in Kirkland in January after suffering a stroke, according to Wood’s granddaughter-in-law Kate Neidigh, who wrote an article for Seattle Refined detailing the experience of Wood’s road to recovery.

“While not technically my blood, she's been my honorary grandma for 17 years and counting," wrote Neidigh.

While Wood was able to recover from her stroke, the worst was yet to come, when Wood came down with a fever near the end of February as the first reported U.S. cases of the novel coronavirus began to emerge.

Wood was transferred to Harborview Medical Center where she tested positive for COVID-19.  

While her family was left in shock and fear knowing the odds were against them as the death toll of the virus continued to rise, Neidigh wrote that Wood “had a slightly different response.”

“I'm going to fight this for my family and make everyone proud," Wood told her family through a glass pane while in isolation. 

“With five kids, 11 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren, the love of her family had been a driving force in everything she did pre-coronavirus. No way was this going to change after-the-fact,” wrote Neidigh.

Even as her children and grandchildren rushed to be by her side, the isolation measures meant that no hugging or touching was allowed. Wood’s son would pen hand-written notes to show his mom since the glass barrier made it hard for her to hear him. 

As her symptoms got worse, Wood was moved to a room with another COVID-19 patient, which meant the end to any visits from her family, leaving video chat as the only means for communication. 

Wood’s daughter, Cami, would post daily updates on her mother’s condition as her time in isolation passed while her family waited anxiously for news of Wood’s recovery. 

No matter how bad things got, Wood never seemed to give up hope. 

“At one point I'm told that she was seen waving her hands in the air yelling, 'I ain't dead yet! I'm gonna die of thirst before I die of this coronavirus!'” wrote her granddaughter-in-law.

Finally, on March 22, Wood tested negative for the virus and was able to return home just a few days later.

Wood’s daughter, Cami, posted photos on Facebook of Wood’s reunion with her family with an update that read, “She’s clear and accepting hugs!”

While Wood was able to recover, her daughter had a clear message to those who have yet to experience what her family went through. 

"Getting this virus is not necessarily a death sentence for the elderly or anybody," she said. "Be more afraid of spreading it. It's a wake-up call to take care of each other. Find positive ways to help others out."