According to the South Dakota Department of Health, there have been 7,943 cases of COVID-19 in the state. But unless you have a personal connection to one of these cases, or know someone who has, it can be hard to grasp the human impact of the potentially deadly disease.
Sara Haiar lives in Sioux Falls. Her 63-year-old older brother José Pineda of Sioux Falls was diagnosed with COVID-19 back in April.
“When I saw him with a lot of tubes, it was very hard,” Haiar said.
She says he no longer has COVID-19. He was on a ventilator, but not anymore. Throughout our conversation Monday night about her experience watching her brother’s battle with COVID-19, faith is a dominant theme.
“I go and pray to God, and say, ‘God please answer. You can do it, you can do it. For you, nothing is impossible, for you everything is possible, and I know you hear me,'” Haiar said.
She had prepared for the worst.
“I went to the funeral home two times for looking for a casket for him, for talking with the funeral home for the prices,” Haiar said.
She explains that she sees her brother every day. But, according to him, she’s been more than a sister.
“He said I am the mother for him, and I am the sister,” Haiar said.
She has some advice for people when it comes to the threat of COVID-19.
“If you feel a little bit sick, go and take the test, for this disease is very bad,” Haiar said. “It’s very bad.”
Pineda is receiving physical therapy and speech therapy right now.