(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) On Friday afternoon, a group of local chaplains gathered in front of The Living Community of St. Joseph to pray for staff and residents battling COVID-19.
“We can use all the prayer we can get,” said Dave Hugger, AseraCare Hospice chaplain.
As of Tuesday, 60 people have tested positive within the facility. Their website reports 27 employees and 33 residents have been infected with the virus.
Chaplains said they couldn't sit by and do nothing.
“When I saw in the news, how COVID had affected this facility. I just felt we needed to go back and pray. They need to know that the people of St. Joe still had their back,” said Hugger.
St. Joseph residents and medical staff joined the chaplains in prayer, virtually and in person.
The group prayer was an act of kindness that one COVID-19 survivor said hits home.
“I had people all over the world praying for me. From St. Joe, our church, my family, people in Mexico, India and everywhere that were constantly building me up,” said Jennifer Kusiliek, 3 Oaks Hospice Chaplain.
After testing positive on May 7th and returning home to quarantine, Kusiliek's two sons contracted the virus and her symptoms worsened.
“Within a few days, I became very, very ill. I had a very high fever. A temperature of 104, 103.9 something like that. Then, I was sent to the critically care unit for 8 days," said Kusiliek.
As someone who has been on the other side of the hospital doors, hooked onto a bipap machine, she said the virus is no hoax.
“It is not a joke. When you’re on the end of it and feel like you can’t breathe, there’s no greater feeling of fear than I've had in my life than not being able to breathe. Even with the bipap machine on, I just remember that feeling when it came off and I couldn’t catch my breathe. It is not a joke. It’s really important to protect yourself, protect your loved ones, protect your coworkers and please do wear a mask,” said Kusiliek.
The first employee to test positive from the Living Community of St. Joseph was on April 4th.
From the 60 people testing positive as of Tuesday, their website reports seven employees and two residents have recovered.