1 Family, 5 Coronavirus Cases: Stratford Lawyer Shares Experience

STRATFORD, CT — Amy Morilla knows firsthand how the new coronavirus can affect a family after her parents, grandfather, aunt and uncle all contracted the disease.

“Tell them you love them when you can,” she said. “… Life can change in a minute.”

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Morilla is a Shelton resident and an attorney with Miller and Morilla in Stratford. Her father was the first of her five relatives, who live in northern New Jersey, to get sick, she said. He started having symptoms March 15 and was tested three days later after waiting for kits to become available. The following week, he was hospitalized for breathing difficulties and pneumonia. Morilla’s grandfather and aunt have also been hospitalized with the virus.

“Once they’re admitted, they’re completely isolated from everybody,” Morilla said, noting even her mother couldn’t see her father while he was hospitalized.

The hospitals are so understaffed and overloaded with patients, it’s been hard to find out anything about the status of her relatives over the phone, Morilla said.

The new coronavirus has hit New Jersey hard, with 75,317 confirmed cases and 3,518 deaths in the state as of Thursday afternoon. Connecticut had 15,884 confirmed cases as of Thursday, and 971 virus-associated deaths. Morilla described having family hospitalized with the serious illness as “an hour-by-hour type of anxiety.”

“It brings up a lot of emotions,” said Morilla, who for weeks has been working from home full-time while taking care of her 3- and 5-year-old children.

Morilla’s aunt and uncle contracted the virus after her grandfather initially went to the hospital and was released because he wasn’t experiencing breathing problems, she said. Her parents were too ill to care for him, so he went to her aunt and uncle’s home, before later being admitted to a hospital.

“It seems like it’s so contagious that you really want to make sure that you social distance,” she said. “… It’s scary, and my dad and my grandpa were in pretty serious condition.”

Morilla’s mother and uncle hadn’t been hospitalized as of earlier this week, but they too found the virus unforgiving. It lasted at least three weeks and they developed pneumonia, she said, noting neither have major health issues that would make them particularly susceptible.

“They felt horrible, they had severe body aches, fevers, and it took a long time for them to get over that,” said Morilla, who declined to name her relatives.

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