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Local family warns others about coronavirus after brother dies

Posted at 10:27 PM, Apr 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-12 23:27:57-04

COVID-19 has hit close to home for one Lafayette Pastor, his brother is one of hundreds who died from the virus.

"Tommie Johnson" was first diagnosed with the virus last month, and weeks later he died from complications of the virus. His family hoped that his story will help everyone take the virus seriously.

"We couldn't go visit him, we couldn't go hold his hand and even his children. He had four children and they went to the hospital and they
couldn't go in the room. They could only see him through a glass door," says Pastor Robert Johnson.

It's one of the hardest parts of COVID-19, that's left an impact on the Johnson family. The virus forces people to stay apart, and for Robert Johnson, he couldn't be next to his brother, "Tommie", when he died or mourn with his family.

"It's hard when you can't hold your family during these times," says Johnson.

The family held a small service for immediate family and recorded for those who couldn't be there.

Johnson says, "We were only able to stand at a distance and wave our hands.We couldn't view the body, his casket couldn't be opened and the only thing
we could do is have graveside service."

Tommie Johnson was diagnosed with the virus in March and his symptoms forced him into a hospital. He stayed on a ventilator for five days before his death.

Johnson's family is now warning others about the dangers of COVID-19, as they mourn his loss.

"When you been through what we been through..you will take every precaution you can. One of the things you have to understand is that it's your loved one because you can be a carrier and don't have the symptoms but you can bring it to somebody else," says Johnson.

Robert Johnson, who's also a pastor at Louisiana Avenue United Methodist Church", is now leaning on faith to cope with loss.

"We carry that joy and we know that God is with us and we can always smile when we think of Tommie," says Johnson.