Glen Allen dad dies, mom hospitalized with COVID: 'We waited too long'

Posted at 4:41 PM, Aug 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-19 18:23:59-04

GLEN ALLEN, Va. -- A Glen Allen man has died as his wife remained in the intensive care unit hooked up to a ventilator after being infected with coronavirus, according to family members.

Angelique Byrd was admitted to Chippenham Hospital on July 14 after experiencing severe symptoms, her sister Danielle Hoover-Bernhardt said. Angelique's husband Aron was admitted on July 17.

The couple, alongside their oldest son Austin, contracted coronavirus following a Fourth of July family gathering in Indiana.

“They called us, telling us that Aron has taken a real turn for the worse and his oxygen wasn’t coming up," Hoover-Bernhardt recalled. "Unfortunately later that night he passed away.”

Aron Byrd, who worked as a mortgage underwriter at Truist, was 51-years-old when he died in the hospital on August 9.

Angelique, a 48-year-old speech pathologist for Hanover Schools, remains on a feeding tube without the ability to talk or walk.

“She has to relearn everything all over again. How to breathe, how to swallow, how to eat, how to move,” Hoover-Bernhardt said. “We’ve been told it’s going to be months, upwards of six or more before she can go to rehab and get home.”

For weeks, Austin Byrd has stayed at his mother’s bedside following his own battle with COVID-19.

Byrd family

“I started off bedridden in the hospital, couldn’t move, just devastated by fevers, aches, chills, and the worst cough you can ever imagine,” he said. “I’m perfectly healthy before I got COVID and it tore me apart bit by bit. The worst part isn’t how it tears you apart, it’s the speed at which it moves. It hits you so fast.”

Austin considered himself a long-hauler after surviving COVID-19. His joints ache and he once used a cane when he experienced numbness on the left side of his body.

Neither he nor his parents were vaccinated against the virus.

“All three of us waited too long until it was too late, and I think that’s a mistake a lot of people are making these days,” Austin said. “We thought we could tank COVID but we were wrong on every level and that was probably our biggest mistake. It took my dad from me and almost took me from everyone. It almost took my mom.”

Austin’s brother and sister are staying with Hoover-Bernhardt and her husband in Ohio while Angelique recovers.

The family set up a GoFundMe to raise funds for mounting hospital bills, funeral costs, and the children's education.

“I don’t want this to be a political thing but we firmly believe that vaccines save lives,” Hoover-Bernhardt said. “I only wish that Angelique and Aron got the vaccine. I think Aron might be here today.”