Family of 7 contracts coronavirus after losing home to wildfires: 'All that we have are questions'

October 3, 2020
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    A family who was reeling after losing their home and belongings to a wildfire suffered another tragedy when all seven members contracted coronavirus.

    Matthew and Jessica Graham both tested positive for the novel virus along with their five kids Constantine, 10, Claudia, twins Zoe and Adele, 7, and Darius, 5.

    According to The Spokesman-Review, the positive tests followed wildfires that destroyed their house and barn, built in 1911, in Malden, Washington.

    Jessica said the fire caused a “total loss.”

    Shortly after the fire, the family began experiencing symptoms similar to the flu while staying with family members.

    Jessica told CBS affiliate KREM TV that they likely "caught it from my parents and then we spread it to Matthew's mother," who babysat the children at some point. She has pneumonia in both lungs but hasn’t been hospitalized.

    While the children have experienced mild symptoms, Matthew is the sickest. He said he first began developing a cough, which he thought was a side effect of inhaling smoke. He described the feeling like a cold with intense exhaustion and noted he has a hard time staying out of bed for more than a few minutes.

    Jessica and Matthew also partially lost their sense of taste.

    "Before our house burned down, we were being really good about isolating and not having that much contact with other people and wearing masks and stuff," Matthew explained.

    He warned: "And this thing is totally miserable and you really do not want to catch coronavirus."

    Before they tested positive, the Grahams also had dinner with another family of nine and unknowingly spread the virus to them.

    "It’s horrible realizing that they reached out to us and have been so welcoming to us, and we spread it [coronavirus] to them," Jessica said.

    The Graham family is currently under quarantine in a hotel in Spokane Valley.

    They admit that the kids miss their home on an acre-and-a-half of land, which featured a grassy pasture and even a chicken coop.

    A GoFundMe set up for the family notes that they recently learned that their dog and chickens survived the blaze.

    However, the novel virus has delayed their plans to find a new home.

    "At this point, we really don’t have any plans. All that we have are questions that lead to more questions, and no answers anywhere to be found," Matthew said.

    The donation page, which has far exceeded the $10,000 goal, notes that the family left after news of a mandatory evacuation and it was “too late to return home to collect their things.”

    “They are having to completely start over and need basic day-to-day supplies, clothing, linens, kitchen items, cookware, and don't know where they're going to live,” it noted.

    Despite the bleak situation, the Grahams are choosing to stay positive through it all. "At least for us, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and I’ve explained to the kids they should be grateful because there is a light at the end of the tunnel and we just need to get there and not everybody has a light at the end of their tunnel,” Matthew explained.

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