Tell City woman loses boyfriend and mother to COVID-19

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Published: Sep. 13, 2021 at 6:41 PM CDT
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TELL CITY, Ind. (WFIE) - Katie Ernst lost her long-time boyfriend and mother to COVID-19 in a matter of two weeks.

Tony Douglas, Ernst’s boyfriend and the father of two of her children, died on a ventilator at Owensboro Health Regional Hospital on Aug. 8.

“My one-year-old, she doesn’t understand,” Ernst said. “She just says ‘da-da-da-da’ all the time, but she doesn’t understand.

“My son Kairo, he knows something is not right. He’s used to having his dad home every night after work. I just tell them daddy is taking a long nap. Daddy is in heaven now. He’s an angel now, he’s our guardian angel and he’s watching over us.”

Ernst was hospitalized due to COVID-19 at the same time as Douglas. She was three doors down from him at Owensboro Health when he passed.

Jan Hagan, Ernst’s mother, watched their two young children while they were in the hospital. She contracted COVID-19 shortly after, and died in her home exactly two weeks after Douglas.

“My mom was my best friend, my rock,” Ernst said. “I got a call early Sunday morning around 2:30 a.m. that she had passed and I didn’t want to believe it at all.”

Ernst lost the two people closest to her in the world in the span of 14 days. She says she wishes the three of them were vaccinated.

“I ask every day, what if we would’ve had the vaccine,” Ernst said. “I still would’ve maybe possibly had my boyfriend and my mom here with me. If I could go back in time I would go back and get the vaccine, but I can’t. It’s too late now.”

Ernst says she plans to get vaccinated as soon as she is able to. People must wait 90 days after being treated for COVID to get the vaccine.

She hopes that her story inspires at least one person to get vaccinated.

Ernst has three children, all under the age of nine. She has been out of work for some time as she recovers physically and emotionally.

Friends of the family have set up a GoFundMe page for her, as she continues to support her children without the help of her mother or boyfriend.

To donate to Katie and her family, click the link to their GoFundMe page.

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