Extended Huron family tests positive for COVID-19, while son cares for mother

Coronavirus

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota State Representative Bob Glanzer remains in critical condition with COVID-19 in Avera’s ICU in Sioux Falls. He was diagnosed a week ago.

His wife, Penny, is recovering from the virus at home in Huron. Their son, Tom, has left his own young family to move in with his mother in order to take care of her.

The coronavirus is wreaking havoc on the Glanzers’ extended family as well. 51-year-old Mari Hofer, a teacher at James Valley Christian School in Huron, died suddenly on Saturday. The family is waiting for her COVID-19 test to come back to see if it was the cause.

Her cousin, Tom Glanzer, has been told to prepare for the worst when it comes to his dad, Bob. But the Glanzers are feeling the support of their entire community behind them.

Over the weekend, friends and family lined up to drive by Bob and Penny Glanzer’s home in a show of solidarity.

“All those people in South Dakota that know my dad tested positive and know our story have brought me so much energy–the power to do what I needed to do,” Tom Glanzer said.

Tom Glanzer’s video of people driving by his mother’s home to show support on March 28

Bob Glanzer remains in critical, but stable condition at Avera McKennan’s intensive care unit in Sioux Falls. His family was told he wasn’t expected to make it through the night on Saturday.

“Really we were prepared; I was–Sunday morning, Sunday all day to get that call. You’re just kind of waiting for the call and honestly you’re waiting for a little bit of peace as well,” Tom said.

However, Bob Glanzer rallied through the night.

“We have great trust in the doctors and staff up there at the Avera ICU and it’s trying to figure out what’s going to work. This is unprecedented territory,” Tom said.

Penny and Bob Glanzer with Gov. Kristi Noem and husband Byron

Tom’s mother Penny was also diagnosed with COVID-19. She was treated and released from Huron Regional Medical Center. Tom made the decision to move out of the home he shares with his wife and three children to care for his mother.

“It was one of those decisions as a son and a dad and a husband you’ve got to take very seriously because as soon as I walked out the door and walked into my mom and dad’s house, I was saying goodbye to my family, my core for at least a month,” Tom said.

“So this is my set up right now,” Tom said in home video of the basement.

“I try to keep the whole house separated. I’m back down living in the basement again like I was in high school,” he said.

He’s also leaving all the kitchen cabinets open to avoid touching them. He wears a mask and gloves when he is taking care of his mother.

“I understand how to live with someone who is COVID-19 positive and that someone is your mom who needs your help. You wrap everything I’m going through all at once. I don’t have time to be afraid of COVID right now,” Tom said.

Penny Glanzer, a retired Huron nurse, was recovering from breast cancer surgery when she caught the coronavirus. Tom says his mother has been overcome by nausea and headaches.

“We got her a shower. We’re going to get her outside, try to set her out in the sunlight for five to six minutes and I’d love to get her some food. She hasn’t been eating very much,” Tom said.

Tom and Stephanie Glanzer with their three children

Tom says an aunt on his mother’s side and an uncle on his father’s side have both tested positive for COVID-19. He suspects the virus was unknowingly spread among family members when they came to visit his mother after cancer surgery at the beginning of the month.

Tom says his 51-year-old cousin who died over the weekend was active and didn’t have any known underlying health conditions.
Again, the family is still waiting on tests to see if the cause of death was coronavirus.

With the things that she had, we assume that’s probably what it is. Just the fact that earlier in the day, she and I were texting and joking and then at 7 o’clock she goes to the hospital and by 2 a.m. she goes to Sioux Falls and by 3 o’clock she’s gone. This is nothing to mess around with.

Tom Glanzer on the sudden death of his 51-year-old cousin, Mari Hofer

Tom says his cousin, Mari, died a few doors down from his father in Avera’s ICU. Tom says he is finding strength through his faith to deal with all this.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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