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Virginia nurse 'helping others get better' dies from COVID-19 on New Year's

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Posted at 11:55 AM, Jan 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-03 11:55:32-05

HOPEWELL, Va. — The family of Virginia nurse Syvie Robertson said she died from complications related to COVID-19 early New Year's Day.

Robertson’s family is opening up about their unexpected loss in hopes that people not taking the pandemic seriously will change course.

"She was supposed to show me how to make prime rib for Christmas this year,” Meshayla Jones, Syvie Robertson's daughter, said.

But instead of spending the holidays with her family, Robertson's daughter said her mother was on a ventilator at a Richmond hospital.

“We were supposed to do it together, and we didn't get that chance,” Jones lamented. “It wasn't because she was being careless; it was because she was helping others get better."

The Hopewell nurse died from complications related to COVID-19 one hour into the new year, according to her family.

"This COVID really frightened her," Jones recalled. "It frightened her from the very beginning."

Shelia Clanton, Robertson's aunt, called the coronavirus the “worst thing ever” because said the disease consumes, takes over and destroys families.

Robertson's death came one day after Virginia topped the grim mark of 5,000 COVID-related deaths and as local health officials warn a wave of new cases is expected within the next two weeks.

"We will continue to see the impacts of them all the way into January, with increased illness from COVID, increased hospitalizations,” Richmond-Henrico Health District Deputy Director Dr. Melissa Viray said. “And really, it worries me from the standpoint of our healthcare."

Robertson's family said that like so many healthcare workers she pressed on with her work despite the dangers.

"She had a strong conviction of mask up,” Clanton said. “She masked up and went to work. And for this, she paid with her life."

Jones urged people to follow the advice of health experts and take the pandemic seriously.

"Just do what they're asking you to do as far as keeping yourself safe, because this thing will destroy you in rapid speed,” Jones said. “It's a loss that I wouldn't wish on anyone. As I keep saying, you wouldn't want to be in our shoes."

Clanton called Robertson her hero.

"Heroes come in all forms, shapes and sizes,” she said. “I needed for people to know that she was a hero. She worked tirelessly."

This story was originally published by Jake Burns on WTVR CBS 6.