Dayton nurse, mother of 7 dies of COVID-19; not able to hold newborn

Tawauna Averette, 42, in a photo she posted to her Facebook page in 2017. CONTRIBUTED
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Tawauna Averette, 42, in a photo she posted to her Facebook page in 2017. CONTRIBUTED

Tawauna Averette was scared.

The 42-year-old Kettering Health Network nurse and Dayton mother of seven got sick with COVID-19 at the end of October after several other nurses on her unit got sick with the virus, her husband Charles Averette told the Dayton Daily News.

At first, Tawauna, who was pregnant with her seventh child, Skye, was doing OK. She went to the hospital a few days after she was diagnosed, though she eventually seemed to get better and was released.

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The day after she was released, Charles said he took Tawauna back to the hospital. She immediately went to the ICU. From there, she was on and off a ventilator and a BIPAP machine, which her husband said she struggled with because she was claustrophobic.

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Tawauna Averette gave birth to Skye Averette just weeks before she died from COVID-19, family members said.

Tawauna Averette gave birth to Skye Averette just weeks before she died from COVID-19, family members said.
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Tawauna Averette gave birth to Skye Averette just weeks before she died from COVID-19, family members said.

While she was in the ICU, Tawauna gave birth to Skye via C-Section six weeks early because doctors were worried about her health.

On Sunday, Charles got a phone call from the hospital. His wife’s heart had stopped beating for 10 minutes.

“I rushed to the hospital. They were telling me like, that it wasn’t looking good,” he said.

Tawauna died on Tuesday of complications from COVID-19.

She died without being able to hold Skye in her arms.

“She got to Facetime with her while she was in the hospital, but that was very, very, hard for her,” said Charles, who added Skye was not diagnosed with COVID-19 and is doing well at home.

Even just a few days before she died, she seemed to be getting better, Charles said. He said he was hopeful she would get out of the hospital soon and be able to go into recovery, though they knew recovery would be difficult for her.

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

A spokesman for Kettering Health Network said in a statement, “We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Tawauna Averette. 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.

Tawauna kept her friends updated on her Facebook page during her stay. On Nov. 6, she wrote, “Y’all don’t understand what it’s like to not hug and kiss on your kids when you can’t.”

Tawauna’s long-time friend, Kellye Alves-Fisher, said her friend was a social person who liked to debate and was very political, but was also a dedicated mom. She was a hard worker and would work two or three jobs at a time. She was active in the local Kami Kares Foundation, Alves-Fisher said, and that’s where the two friends met.

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Alves-Fisher said Tawauna loved the Bengals, while Alves-Fisher cheered for the Steelers. Every time their teams would play each other at Paul Brown Stadium, in Cincinnati, they went to see who won.

Albes-Fisher said her friend never went without a mask and was always fully protected in PPE when she was in the hospital.

Tawauna leaves behind her husband of 14 years and seven children, whose ages vary between one month and 20 years old. The family is accepting donations and gifts at the Dakota Center at 33 Barnett St. in Dayton.

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