An unvaccinated nurse in Idaho has died of COVID-19, leaving behind special needs twins. Natalie Rise was just 46 when she died on August 22.
Her brother says that Rise refused to get vaccinated, even when her mother was put into a coma from COVID-19. "She was telling me not to get vaccinated," Daryl Rise told CNN. "I think it was from misinformation, I think it was falling into negative social media and bloggers, YouTubers."
Unvaccinated-Nurse-Dies-of-COVID-GettyImages-1255356831 that his sister and mother thought "that they were protected by masks and hand sanitation. It doesn't protect you like the vaccine would," he said.
Rise started a GoFundMe for his sister's twins, who are 10. "On August 22nd, the world lost somebody very precious and heaven gained someone Worthy," he wrote on the fundraising site. "Natalie Rise was in Kootenai Medical Center COVID Critical Care right down the hall from my mother, who is now recovering from a ventilated coma due to COVID-19."
Idaho is currently in the middle of a COVID crisis, with state health officials announcing last week that health care providers are allowed to ration care due to a surge of COVID-19 cases. That means they can decide which patients need immediate care and which will need to wait.
"The situation is dire—we don't have enough resources to adequately treat the patients in our hospitals, whether you are there for COVID-19 or a heart attack or because of a car accident," Idaho Department of Health and Welfare Director Dave Jeppesen said in a press release.
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Idaho saw 1,354 new COVID-19 cases diagnosed on September 22, according to state data. Idaho's COVID-19 vaccination rate is lower than the national average: Just 51.4% of eligible residents are fully vaccinated against the virus, compared to 64.1% of the country.
Natalie's twins, Emmett and Emmory, have a rare developmental disorder known as Joubert syndrome, the GoFundMe says. "Emmett has already had several major brain surgeries due to an enlarged arachnoid cyst one-third the size of his brain," the GoFundMe continues. "My mother Nancy will be taking sole custody once she recovers. She is currently in rehab hospital of the Northwest learning how to walk again after being on a paralytic for so long. Needless to say she is extremely motivated and expected to make a full recovery."
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Rise later wrote on GoFundMe that he is "completely blown away and taken back by the support of our wonderful community. I woke up this morning to so many new donors that there's no way I could reply to all of you by email. The children and I pray at every meal and tonight at dinner you guys are going to be the focus of our prayer. We will be praying for your health and safety in this pandemic."
Rise told CNN that he quit his job as a truck drive to care for his sister's twins and that he got his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine the day after his sister died.
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