Widow of Willow Wood resident who died from COVID-19 tests positive

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Sheila Curren’s husband Richard died Tuesday, March 17, from bacterial pneumonia after testing positive for COVID-19. Now, the widow has tested positive for the coronavirus.

The two lived together at the Atria Willow Wood assisted living facility until Richard, 77, suddenly fell ill and was taken to Holy Cross Hospital.

Last week shortly after his death, Sheila said, “I’m not going to get sick.”

While still mourning the passing of her husband of 56 years, Sheila is now quarantined with family in Miami-Dade county.

Talking on a video chat, Local 10′s Janine Stanwood asked Sheila if she was okay.

"I'm okay as I could be under the circumstances," said Sheila.

Their son Erik Curren told Local 10 he wasn’t entirely surprised his mother tested positive. “She was exposed to my Dad. But what really concerned me was that it took so long to get a test," said Erik.

It was more than 10 days after Richard’s death when Sheila was finally tested only after a visit to the hospital.

In this new normal. there was no big celebration of life for Richard. The family, together in isolation, spread his ashes on the bougainvilleas and said their goodbyes the best they could.

Tracie Currren Wieder, the couple’s daughter, said: “We buried some of his ashes in the ground with a flowering bush, and It was very intense because the only people there were the people who were grieving.”

About her father contracting the virus, Tracie said in an earlier interview with Local 10: “There are three high risk groups as categorized by the CDC, and those are diabetics, people with heart disease and people with lung disease. He had all three of those.”

Sheila said besides missing her husband, she can’t believe he’s gone. “It makes no sense.”

The family are now isolating themselves at their home in Miami-Dade County. Some say they are experiencing mild COVID-like symptoms, but for the most part right now, they are all remaining hopeful.

As of Saturday, Atria Willow Wood reported 19 residents have tested positive for COVID-19, six residents from the facility have died from the respiratory illness caused by the new coronavirus.

About the Author:

Janine Stanwood joined Local 10 News in February 2004 as an assignment editor. She is now a general assignment reporter. Before moving to South Florida from her Washington home, Janine was the senior legislative correspondent for a United States senator on Capitol Hill.