After urging people to get vaccinated while her mother and stepfather battled COVID-19 in hospital in Grand Falls-Windsor last week, Louisa Higgins says her stepfather has died.
Higgins announced his death in a Facebook post Friday evening, writing, "I lost my fishing buddy. He always laughed at me when I caught a big one. I will miss it. Thank you, Cyril Brenton, for all you've done for me."
Higgins spoke with CBC News on Thursday, while Brenton and her mother were in intensive care.
"It's been very, very hard. I can't hold her hand or see her or be with her. And I know she want would want me to. And I know Cyril would love to have his family there too," Higgins said Thursday before her stepfather's death.
Her mother remains in intensive care.
The death is the 12th COVID-19-related death in Newfoundland and Labrador since the pandemic began, and the fifth death in a two-week span.
Higgins said both Brenton and her mother were unvaccinated, and are part of a cluster of cases that emerged among the congregation at the First United Pentecostal Church in Bishop's Falls.
"It's just a nightmare, because you never expect it to be striking your own family," she said.
"It won't strike here, that's what we thought. But obviously, we were wrong."
WATCH | Louisa Higgins speaks with the CBC's Peter Cowan about COVID-19 moving through her family:
Higgins said Thursday she hopes her message will serve as a lesson for other people in the province to get vaccinated before COVID affects their family or community.
"If you don't get the vaccine and you do end up with the virus, you probably will be in the same situation that my mom and my stepdad is in," she said.
"So I'm just asking please, go get your vaccine."
The Department of Health did not respond to a request for more information from CBC News.