Tawauna Averette, 42, died on Tuesday from COVID-19 complications, according to her family

By Gabrielle Chung
December 11, 2020 11:01 PM
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Tawauna Averette
| Credit: facebook

A nurse in Ohio who recently gave birth to her seventh child has tragically died from complications related to the novel coronavirus before she was able to hold her newborn, according to her family and friends.

Tawauna Averette — a 42-year-old cardiac unit nurse at Kettering Medical Center in Dayton — died on Tuesday, months after she and several of her colleagues fell ill with COVID-19, her husband Charles Averette told the Dayton Daily News.

"It’s hard," he said. "She was everything for us, and we don't have her no more."

The mom started showing symptoms of what the family thought was a head cold in October, while she was pregnant with her youngest child, according to Charles.

Tawauna tested positive for COVID-19 later that month at an urgent care facility and was soon admitted into the intensive care unit after having trouble breathing, he told WHIO-TV.

While she was in the ICU, Tawauna gave birth to her daughter Skye via C-section six weeks early.

Friends of Tawauna said the mom was not able to hold Skye before she died.

"[Nurses] took the baby out of the room – that was it," friend Kellye Albes-Fisher told WHIO-TV. "She never got to bond."

Charles said Tawauna had previously been hospitalized with pneumonia, so the family was concerned and the mom took every precaution she could to avoid contracting COVID-19.

"We knew ... she would be susceptible to it, but ... it got her, " Charles said.

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Charles told Dayton Daily News that Skye did not contract coronavirus and is doing well at home.

"We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Tawauna Averette," a spokesperson Kettering Health Network tells PEOPLE in a statement on Friday. "She was a beloved and valued member of our Kettering Health Network team, and our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends in this time of loss."

Since Tawauna's death, a GoFundMe campaign has been launched in support of the family.

As of Friday, there have been more than 15,928,400 COVID-19 cases and 295,600 deaths from coronavirus-related illnesses in the United States, according to a New York Times database.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.