SOLON, Ohio — Nicole Stika of Solon is hoping no family will ever have to endure what she and her husband when through last December, losing three parents to COVID-19 is just 28 hours.
Stika lost her mother, Deborah Choiniere, 73; her father George Choiniere, 88; and her father-in-law, Dennis Stika, 72 starting on Dec. 16.
She decided to share her unimaginable story as a tribute to the parents she lost and as a way to issue a warning to everyone to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
“I lived by the mercy of doctor’s phone calls 24/7," Stika said. “To end life support on our parents, I mean it was a complete blur.”
“I hadn’t even processed it when I walked out of my mom’s room and then I was making a phone call to my husband who was still in the parking lot.”
“How is the really happening, you know truly, I still haven’t really processed it months later.”
Stika told News 5 people should not feel invincible just because they have received the vaccine and urged everyone to continue to practice proper COVID-19 safety protocols.
“Nobody should have to experience what we did, for one loved one, not to mention three in 28 hours,” Stika said.
“Yes I get it, I want to be out there too, I want to be doing sports with my son and going on vacation, but that can wait."
“There’s almost no words because it's just infuriating and yet we were so careful.”
“This virus, it’s not going away anytime soon and that’s why the vaccine is extremely important.”
Summit County Health Commissioner Donna Skoda issued her own warning, and pointed to a March 29 uptick in Ohio hospitalizations and ICU admission, especially among those ages 20 to 29.
“I think for a lot of us we think woo-who, we’re vaccinated, let’s go out," Skoda said
“It’s heed the warning, you are not safe yet. The state still has 1500, 1600 cases a day, one day we had 2,700 cases.”
“The vaccines we have right now are effective against the variants, however, the variants will continue to change."
Dr. Pauline Terebuh, who is a member of the pandemic response team with the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, told News 5 Northeast Ohio residents must continue to practice COVID-19 safety measures, since B 1.1.7 COVID variant cases have double in Ohio to 275, in just the past week.
"We have the possibility of really taking steps back," Terebuh said. “A lot of virus is passing to and from people ages 20 to 29.”
"So some of the things that may not have resulted in an infection before, with this more transmissible variant, may result in passing that virus along.”