B.C. family mourns 46-year-old dad who died suddenly of COVID-19 at home

The widow of a 46-year-old B.C. man who died suddenly of COVID-19 at his home this month is urging people to take the disease seriously.

Reid Hance, his wife Melissa and their two young sons all tested positive for the novel coronavirus earlier this month and were trying to recover at home in Tsawwassen.

Melissa Hance described her husband’s cough as “super aggressive.” He didn’t have a fever, but he had chills and was acting lethargic — “just not his regular, active self,” she told CBC News.

On April 13, they spoke with a nurse and scheduled an appointment with a doctor. Reid was resting on the couch when his wife said goodnight and went to bed.

The next morning, he was dead.

“I put my hand on his arm and I said good morning, and his arm was cold. I started shaking his arm and I couldn’t move his arm, and I started freaking out,” Hance said.

His death still doesn’t feel quite real.

“What I have to live with now and every day moving forward is that I didn’t say I love you … and I say I love you every night,” Hance said.

Health officials say at least 34 people in B.C. died from COVID-19 at home during the first year of the pandemic. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has said there’s no evidence at this point that it’s happening more frequently.

Hance says her husband lived an active life. He coached his sons’ sports teams and the family loved fishing and camping together.

“He had a very witty sense of humour, a very genuine and caring attitude, and anyone who came across him felt that way,” she said.

Hance wants her family’s story to be a cautionary tale for those who aren’t being careful enough when it comes to the virus. She also wants the province to tighten public health measures.

“I want to see them shut everything down — I do. I want to see them not just offer recommendations but actually follow through,” she said.

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