The couple’s daughter Michelle Nusom Taylor wrote on her Facebook page: “On March 16, Clark County reported the first and second deaths of a married couple from COVID-19. They were my parents Merle and Dee Tofte and they died within hours of one another.”
Merle Tofte, 86, and Delores Tofte, 85, died in separate rooms of PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center on March 16, and relatives had to say their final goodbyes through FaceTime calls, according to Global News.
“It’s heartbreaking. The staff was amazing. They did something I will be forever grateful for. They set up a FaceTime call with my parents, each in a different room, with a chaplain with their grandchildren and children so we could all say goodbye to them. We will all be forever grateful for that,” Taylor said.
According to Business Insider, the Toftes’ symptoms such as coughs, fevers, and breathing complications appeared just days after attending Delores’s 85th birthday party on Feb. 28.
Ten days after the initial symptoms, the couple had died.
“[The pain] is unbearable at times,” Taylor told KATU-TV. “I just want people to take it seriously. That’s what I want. I never thought this would happen to our family. I know that sharing their story is helping people really understand that this virus is taking people’s lives. I would say be safe, be kind, be smart.”
Taylor’s sister, Lori Kohler, also told The Washington Post: “The fact that they both went together, even though it was really hard on us, it was best for them. If only one was left, then that would have been awful.”
Though the couple were the first to die of the CCP virus in Clark County, they were the second and third people to test positive for the virus in the county.
According to Taylor’s Facebook post, she was in quarantine until March 26, both unable to comfort her family or hold a proper service for her parents.
“I am in quarantine until March 26. I can’t be with my loved ones. I can’t comfort my children who have lost their grandparents. I can’t hold a service for my parents or attend their burial. Funeral homes are closed. It is believed they contracted COVID-19 through community spread. I wanted time and privacy to grieve but if their story can save a life, it needs to be told. Please share this. I love you, Mom and Dad.”