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After husband passed away from COVID, Rennes resident reflects

Story By Morgan Johnson
Local News Published 04/07/2021 4:19PM, Last Updated 04/08/2021 10:34AM
Rhinelander - Almost two years ago, Kay Schoone and her husband Pete came to Rennes Health and Rehab Center in Rhinelander.

There, she watched the coronavirus pandemic unfold in front of her.

"I think we've paid a very dear price for this COVID," said Schoone.

But, Kay felt safe being in a facility with health professionals.

Having lived through the polio epidemic in the 40s and 50s, Kay felt it was best to trust the scientists.

"It just seemed like they got medicine right away and it lasted for a while but nothing like this COVID," said Schoone.

But something was clearly different about this time.

For months, Kay and her husband watched COVID spread from their confined room, with no cure in sight.

"Each time, each day, each week it was spreading more and more and we were starting to be more concerned about it," said Schoone.

Then COVID arrived on their doorstep.

"I know the first day they were talking about a lockdown and we looked at each other 'well what's a lockdown and what is this going to entail for us?," said Schoone.

All of a sudden, the couple had to stay in their room.

They couldn't see their children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren.

"The hardest, hardest part when we were told that--and I might be a little sensitive here--that we could not see our family. And to everyone this was very very hard," said Schoone.

Kay and Pete tried their best to stay safe. But precautions can only go so far.

Both Kay and her husband got the coronavirus.

Pete ended up passing away in November 2020. Her best friend and lifelong husband of 57 years was gone.

"I think the week after he passed, we were vaccinated here," said Schoone. "That's how close he was."

Finally, after such a tough year, things started slowly getting back to normal.

And, Kay is now able to do one of her favorite things.

"I've always been an outdoor person," said Schoone. "I learned how to fish, how to hunt, swim, in the neighborhood where I grew up, we had everything there."

She tries to get some fresh air every day because it reminds her of the most cherished memories.

A week ago, Rennes started to allow visitors in-person again.

Which is one step closer to what Kay wants back the most: seeing friends and family.

"I'm hoping that our families can get together soon for holidays and birthdays," said Schoone.

For now, she'll continue to be safe for herself, her family, and others.
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