Florida woman's coronavirus diagnosis impacts four generations of her family

Posted at 10:39 PM, Apr 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-15 11:00:23-04

A single COVID-19 diagnosis for one Davenport woman kicked off a domino effect impacting four generations of her family and prompted her 85-year-old father to make a call for action after struggling to get grocery deliveries.

Sue Sifonte told Taking Action Reporter Jackie Callaway she starting feeling sick in March.

“I had a fever. I had a very dry cough,” said Sifonte.

But when breathing became difficult, Sifonte said she wound up in the emergency room.

“It felt like I had someone sitting on my chest,” said Sifonte, who was sent home from the hospital to recover and isolate.

Days later, she received learned her test results showed she tested positive for COVID-19.

Sifonte’s husband, Rafael, also tested positive.

“We are very concerned how his body is reacting to the virus,” said Sifonte, adding that Rafael already suffers from lung disease.

Sifonte said the illness didn’t just hit her and her husband. It impacted four generations of their family, including her 85-year-old father, Bob Phelps. Phelps lives just down the street, but she can no longer care for him.

With Sifonte sick, Phelps had to learn to order groceries online. He told ABC Action News he ordered from BJ’s Wholesale Club and received an email, notifying him his order had been delivered.

But Phelps said he never received his groceries.

Sifonte attempted to help by calling the company, but she said she was put on hold for 45 minutes and got nowhere.

Taking Action Reporter Jackie Callaway stepped in to help and contacted BJ’s about the missing groceries. The company quickly refunded Phelps’ $90 bill and gave him a $25 gift card.

“I was very impressed on how fast things happened once you were involved,” said Sifonte.

Meanwhile, Sifonte is also no longer able to help care for her grandchildren – a 2-year-old boy and 5-month-old twin girls.

But their father – and Sifonte’s son Rafael – said he’s more concerned about making sure his parents are recovering.

“We can’t even take care of them now because they are sick,” said Rafael Sifonte. “I was terrified for my dad to have it because he is a really bad diabetic and he's got lung disease.”

Rafael also told ABC Action News he worries about the future for all of them now that the pandemic has idled his family construction business.

“There's a little bit of tension in the household all the time, but we are getting through it,” said Rafael Sifonte.

After two weeks struggling with coronavirus, Sue Sifonte reports she and her husband have finally turned a corner and feel the worst is behind them. She said she’s hoping all four generations of her family will be able to reunite and spend time together once the pandemic passes.